Pupil Premium: Supporting the whole child to achieve aspirational targets through rich provision

Key Points

  • Start with the aspiration not with the analysis (avoid the data trap!)
  • Give top quality teachers the time to help pupil premium children excel!


What were your reasons for doing this development work?

The Headteacher , Governors and staff developed a vision for the school to be

“…a model of educational excellence, consistently within the top 5% of schools in England.” (Vision 2014)

We wanted our children (65% Pupil Premium, 63% EAL, many from disadvantaged homes) to be successful year after year.

Schools (particularly small schools) sometimes talk about “weak cohorts” who achieve less well. We preferred to think of them as “needy cohorts” who would need more top quality provision to reach the aspirational targets we had set.

Who were the identified target learners?

All children in the school, including Pupil Premium children.

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

The impact would be evident in English and Mathematics results but this impact would be achieved through the delivery of “a creative and rigorous curriculum which inspires and motivates all our children to realise their God-given potential “ (Vision 2014) in other words we recognised that it was through the whole curriculum indeed through all of our academic and pastoral provision that the headline results were to be achieved.

How were you intending to improve pupil learning?

  • Through setting targets that defined what pupils need to attain in each year in Reading, Writing and Mathematics in order to reach above national averages at end of KS2. (See Strategic Targets, attached below)
  • Through recruiting quality staff and organising teaching so that support can be invested in the years where it is most effective.

What were your success criteria?

Strategic targets – we set these ourselves based not on prior attainment or on Fischer Family Trust data but on our ambition for the children.


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

We set strategic targets (see attachment), not based on prior attainment, but just on wanting to be in the top 10% of schools nationally. That meant that we committed to getting at least 90% L4, and at least 45% L5 by the end of Year 6, year after year, and at least 100% 2 levels progress year after year.

We then asked ourselves “How do we get there?”

  • Staffing: We spend all our PP funding of staff, but they have to be good and they have to be driven. Outstanding teachers are strategically placed in Reception, Year 2 and Year 6. I am painstaking over recruitment and keep contact with potential recruits. We have a high proportion 20-25% of male staff as it is important for boys to have strong role models. Planning and preparation time is generous: 10% curriculum time and a little bit more. HLTAs provide much of the PPA. EYFS, Year 1 and 2, and years 3 and 4 plan together on a 2 year cycle.
  • Sets for English and Mathematics in Y3,Y4 and Y5. (In Y6 there is a withdrawal group for level 6, targeted support 1:1 with a teacher, plus small groups) Y3 and Y4 are together split into three sets with about 20 children in each set. In Y5 there are two sets: a group of 21 and a group of 9. Sets lower down the school mean strategic targets are met more quickly. Differentiation is necessary within sets this young. The sets are a house of cards, really; a staff absence or trip can wreak havoc.
  • There are no sets in the last week of every half term so as to allow theme week and days, more time for Foundation subjects and to allow time for reflection and festivity.
  • The Deputy Head and Assistant Headteacher are freed from class responsibilities. (This had Governors’ support). They don’t just manage, but teach. The AHT taught the low ability sets in English and Maths in Y3/4; but is now replaced by a Leading Practitioner (with a Masters in SEN from the Institute). A ‘Numbers Count’ trained person works 1:1 in Y1, Y2 and higher years. Withdrawal sessions take place both within the subject time and other times – it is a mix.
  • High quality marking: it is expected that regular marking feedback will be built into the next lesson.
  • Vision and Values (see attached file). Ours is a small historic school embracing Catholic and Orthodox children from a mixed community that includes families with Eritrean, Ethiopian, Irish, British, African and Traveller heritage. The community has a collective expectation that the school is strong and has high expectations of their children. The children are told ‘God loves you and holds you in the palm of his hand’ – that feeling of being held is strong for our children. Each has a special person on the staff they can talk to. We recruit role models where we can – support staff, some who attended this school; HLTAs from the local area who are committed to their own professional and academic development.
  • We track progress of individual children so we always know how we are progressing against our targets. Like all schools we do baseline assessments of children in Nursery, Reception, and Year 1, and we assess every child who joins us as soon as we can.
  • However, we avoid the ‘data trap’. Schools, particularly small schools can be distracted by overanalysing.
  • Data analysis, like guilt, is pointless unless it leads to effective sustained action. Once it is clear what the focus or the intervention should be the analysis must give way to action. And if we are asking questions about what the child can achieve in two, three or even four years’ time, we mustn’t let the data limit our ambition for the child.

If a child lacks support or role models at home for example, we need to think how to provide it in school and to galvanise parents to develop it at home…

  • In our EYFS, The Deputy Headteacher works in Nursery and Reception for two days per week. We get Nursery parents in to show them Year 1 and say, “That’s where your child is going. What do you parents and we in school need to be praising to get them there?”
  • KS1: In Y1 every child is heard read every day. We have ‘Numbers Count’ intervention for level 1 to reach level 2c.
  • Flexible provision. In one 1:1 maths session a parent joined her daughter as the parents felt that she too needed help with her mathematics.
  • Homework clubs meet three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. This is essential for children who are not academically supported at home because of lack of literacy or numeracy, for example.

If there are no role models at home, perhaps other schools can provide them for our pupils…

  • Sixth formers from Camden schools help children with their homework at our Homework clubs; one Portuguese-Speaking sixth-former is reading with a child in KS2 to help maintain his Portuguese first language. These young people are role models, successful learners who are overcoming some of the challenges that our children face.
  • The Catholic Children’s Society (CCS) provide qualified psychotherapists through the Connect Ed organisation, who work in the school for one morning every week. I can simply ask for the therapist to see a child or parents; there is no complex referral system. The school pays a fee for this and raises money for CCS in Lent. This is a really important resource. We need to surround children with care that they can find reliable.
  • Specialist provision. There is an artist in residence (from Upside Arts), as well as PE, Drama and Music teachers. Typically class teachers are in class for these sessions. The Artist in residence is in classes every other week, and teachers repeat or extend lessons. It is important that Class teachers are not deskilled.

What specific teaching resources did you use?

Top quality staff.

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

Camden Local Authority has been very important in our success. It was as a result of a Camden Conference that our sets were set up. Support from Camden with EYFS, Literacy and Numeracy consultants has been essential as well as support with data, and personnel, and challenge from my Camden Professional Partner.

Outcomes and Impact

What has been the impact on pupil learning?

Pupils are making ‘Outstanding’ progress. The expected progress nationally has been 12 points across KS2. Our Pupil Premium children have been achieving 14-20 progress points. The average points score is 16.5 for Reading, 16.1 for writing and 16.1 for Mathematics.

100% of our FSM children gained L4 or above in Reading Writing and Mathematics in 2013.

Evidence of impact on pupil learning

See data attached below.

We were in the top 10 in London in 2013 for KS2 attainment. We are below national averages on entry, in line with national standards at end KS1 and well above national standards at end KS2.

What has been the impact on teaching?

Teaching is at least ‘Good’ throughout the school and in some cases ‘Outstanding’ . One might think that aspirational targets are unrealistic, but in performance management, I don’t ask, ‘Have you achieved that target?’ but ‘Have you done everything possible to achieve that target?’ In pupil progress meetings when we have to admit a child can’t get to their target this year, we ask “Well, what will it take to get the child to the required standard by the end of next term, or next year?”

Before the pupil progress meetings teachers have to draw up a list of modifications that they will make to their own teaching in order to help particular children before other interventions are considered.

Evidence of impact on teaching

Teachers work together more, taking collective responsibility for the children’s progress and attainment.

Like many schools we are moving away from grading individual lessons but we are rigorous about judgements against standards and we do try to be honest.

What has been the impact on school organisation and leadership?

I think that we are developing collectively a deeper understanding of the leadership that our school needs.

We all have weaknesses things that we need others to help us with. These are distinct from an individual’s “areas for development” – aspects of practice that he or she can improve.

Ideally as a leadership team the strengths that one person has will compensate for weaknesses in another and so every aspect of the school can be well led. It is inevitable that a person has weaknesses but organisations, if the recruitment is right, may avoid them and have only “areas for development”.

Evidence of impact on school organisation and leadership

The success of the school has encouraged colleagues to step up and take on Middle Leadership roles.

It has also given support staff the confidence to put themselves forward for promotion and greater responsibility.

What is the crucial thing that made the difference?

Thinking deeply about children’s progress – about the way that pastoral and academic support are linked, and not simply thinking in ‘years’. What can we do now that will bear fruit not just at the end of this year but in two, three, four or more years’ time?

That, and setting strategic aspirational targets.

What would your next steps be?

We want to embed lesson study for the CPD of our teachers and as a way of further enriching the provision in the classes, sets and small groups. We will get support from Camden to do this.

The children from a few of our families have very low attendance. We have to tackle this through rewards, a walking bus, and free places at breakfast club.

Sharing Practice

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

Once the fire-fighting is over, set strategic targets. Set very ambitious targets for what you want your Year 3s (2s, 1s, Reception children) to attain at the end of Year 6.

What would be the essential elements to include?

  • A strong ethos of valuing the whole child; every child knowing school is there for them, committed to getting the best for them. Spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) has to be very strong.
  • Knowing the children really well, valuing them, supporting their needs.
Case Study

100% of our FSM children gained L4 or above in Reading Writing and Mathematics in 2013

Primary Schools
  • Published
    22 September 2014
  • Author
    Sean Cranitch
  • School
    St Patrick RC
  • 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


Attainment Graphs Summer 13-14

177 KB

St Patrick's Vision & Values statement July 2014

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Strategic Targets

166 KB


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