Pupil Premium: Closing the gaps in English

Key Points

  • Structuring staffing in KS1 to maximise effective teaching
  • Teaching assistants freeing teachers for quality interaction 1:1 with pupils
  • Building nurturing relationships


What were your reasons for doing this development work?

To raise standards and upskill all staff.

Who were the identified target learners?

Initially, pupil premium children.

What specific curriculum area did you intend to have impact on?


How were you intending to improve pupil learning?

  • By establishing a big team in our 2 form-entry KS1 comprising 4 class teachers, 4 Teaching Asistants, 1 Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) and 1 Emotional Pastoral Support Team person (EPST, who also has other demands on her time)
  • Through 1:1 reading by the Year 1 teachers with all pupils. In line with our Play Policy, Year 1 have three afternoon sessions a week of structured play play in the Autumn term which gradually reduce to 1 per week in Summer 2 and continue at this rate in Year 2. The 1:1 reading takes place while the TA leads the play sessions.

What were your success criteria?

That the scheme ran successfully and pupils made better progress, especially the pupil premium children.


What did you do - what teaching approaches did you use?

In KS1, the two TAs are assigned to the year group rather than individual classes, so they work in both classes. One does English in both classes and one does maths (both subjects taught in the morning, English in one class while maths in the other). With the HLTA and EPST as well, this means there are always 3 adults in every English lesson – an excellent pupil:adult ratio. Feedback on writing is given on the go using green and pink highlighters (green: look again; pink: tickled pink); each adult is responsible for giving feedback and moving on comments to the children they are working with during that session.

The play sessions in the afternoon are about an hour, led by a TA. Play activities include an art focus table, construction, role play area, writing focus, drawing and painting, etc. These provide an excellent opportunity for social interaction between pupils, build on good practice in EYFS and enrich the curriculum. At this time the class teachers read 1:1 with pupils, so all children have regular 1:1 reading sessions in which they share books, read aloud and discuss the reading book. In the autumn term the Year 1 class teachers support reading with every child 1:1 every week as well as during guided group sessions. It means the teachers can communicate directly with parents through the reading bag. As the play sessions gradually reduce the amount of 1:1 reading with the teacher reduces. However in both Year 1 and Year 2, children are identified who would benefit from more 1:1 reading with an adult we find ways to provide this within the phase (Teacher, TAs, HLTA, EPST, reading volunteer).  The work during the autumn term of Year 1 emphasises a regular pattern of reading, enables strategies to be shared with parents and issues which might impact on progress to be identified and addressed.

During the afternoon play sessions, 15 minute intervention groups can be taken by the HLTA, for example focusing on phonics.

What specific teaching resources did you use?

No special resources. We use A4 exercise books for English, so that all the work is together and children’s progress is easy to see.

What CPD experiences, materials, research and expertise have you drawn on?

The TAs share the teachers’ training, eg phonics, Numicon.

Outcomes and Impact

What has been the impact on pupil learning?

  • It has raised standards in English
  • It has raised levels of communication with parents using the book bag
  • 1:1 sessions with each child has enabled the teachers to know and nurture the pupils, which has supported progress
  • The everyday presence of the teachers, TAs, HLTA and EPST is good for the children’s continuity of learning

Evidence of impact on pupil learning

The scheme ran successfully and pupils made better progress, especially the pupil premium children.

End of Year 1 data for 2013-14 shows the year group points average and progress was as follows:
Reading: Points average All:12.1 (PP pupils:11.5) Progress All: +5.8 (PP pupils:+5.9)
Writing: Points average All:11.5 (PP pupils:11.3) Progress All: +6.3 (PP pupils:+6.7)
Mathematics: Points average All:11.9 (PP pupils:11.4) Progress All: +5.9 (PP pupils:+6.6)

What has been the impact on teaching?

Every member of the team is team-teaching – TAs are working closely with teachers, communicating with everyone. Because they work in one English/Maths session and then the other they act as a communication between class teachers and can be more supportive in both sessions, enabling teachers more. There is a high level of sharing of information about children’s learning within the team.

The 1:1 reading sessions allow the class teachers to track progress in reading really efficiently using the colour bands. It is easier to monitor reading strategies and identify learning needs – it stops you making assumptions. You can identify children you need to focus on at any time and find ways to support them.

Evidence of impact on teaching

It has worked well for the first year and is continuing this year.

What has been the impact on school organisation and leadership?

Phase organisation of TAs

Evidence of impact on school organisation and leadership

Continuing the phase organisation of TAs

What is the crucial thing that made the difference?

  • Having really good, honest communication in the team, and everyone in the team pulling their weight.
  • Quality staff
  • The everyday presence of the HLTA and EPST is crucial to the team.

What would your next steps be?

  • Identifying patterns in progress and attainment data
  • Embedding the good practice.

Sharing Practice

If another individual or school was attempting to replicate this work, where should they start?

Look at who is best for each phase team in the school, and form a big team in KS1 with quality, committed staff. Find funding for a HLTA or find someone to fulfil that role. A big team of quality staff would benefit all phases, not just KS1.

What would be the essential elements to include?

Shared approach, understanding and commitment amongst the team.

Case Study

“…pupils made better progress, especially the pupil premium children.”

Primary Schools
  • Published
    20 September 2014
  • Author
    Kelly Smith
  • School
    Gospel Oak
  • Whom to Contact

    To discuss this case study, please contact us via email customersupport@camdenlearning.org.uk

Rating / Stats

This will work in my school

We did this in our school and it worked


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