At Blenheim Primary School, we have high expectations of all pupils and our aim is for disadvantaged pupils to achieve higher standards than their peers nationally, focusing particularly on attainment in reading, writing and maths.
We track the achievement of these pupils closely and report their progress termly in Pupil Progress meetings involving school leaders; this allows us to regularly review and adapt our provision. A key component of our current strategy is to develop teaching across the school so that all pupils’ learning improves, focusing on teachers’ understanding of cognitive science, curriculum design and effective pedagogy.
Our assessment framework enables us to identify pupils at risk of not meeting age related expectations; these pupils receive targeted academic support, such as interventions and booster groups to raise attainment, or other strategies to improve pupil behaviour and wellbeing. Our aim is for the balance of these strategies to ensure that disadvantaged pupils have the best possible chances of success.
Case Study 1:
Throughout her time at Blenheim, Pupil A struggled with her learning in all subjects. However, through continued dedication to her learning, this pupil aimed to be the best she could be, taking on advice from her teachers to improve her work. Her teachers made sure that effective feedback was given to her, both verbally and through marking, to ensure she was aware of her next steps. She also received extra support to help her to close gaps in her knowledge, such as how to improve her spelling. Through regular reading lessons, both in small groups and with her whole class, she was able to build her understanding of the full range of reading skills and learned to use the text to justify her answers. In class discussions, her speaking and listening skills enabled her to share her thoughts and opinions with those around her, giving her the confidence to apply this within her own work. She received 1:1 support from a Pupil Premium teacher for maths and reading during her time in Year 6 as well as attending weekly tuition sessions with her class teacher to secure her knowledge of both grammar and punctuation as well as reading. She was also part of an extra class for maths, taken by one of the Year 6 teachers: these sessions focused on building her confidence in arithmetic skills; applying those within reasoning style problems and encouraging her to explain her methods and working out. In her end of KS2 tests, Pupil A reached the expected standard in grammar, punctuation and spelling as well as maths and she achieved the higher standard in reading.
Case Study 2:
Pupil B joined Blenheim in Year 1, having recently moved to a potential adoptive placement. He had a diagnosis of global developmental delay. Paperwork highlighted significant neglect in his early years, resulting in dissociative behaviours both in placement and in school. Funding for Pupil B allowed him to access a range of support throughout his time at Blenheim from his teachers, support staff, the Inclusion Team and additional 1:1 emotional support (counselling) within school to process his early trauma. The disadvantaged subsidy enabled Pupil B to access weekly drumming sessions to support focus and emotional regulation as well as weekly karate lessons. This funding also supported his attendance at our year 6 residential to Hilltop, where he was observed embracing the challenges with enthusiasm. Funding for the Inclusion Team has allowed him to be supported weekly by the Inclusion Manager, working on developing focus and attention skills.
By the end of KS1, Pupil B was performing significantly below his peer group academically but had made good progress based on his starting point. He appeared settled and emotionally safe in school, showing a willingness to learn and engage in all of the learning opportunities available to him. Data indicated progress consistent with his level of need. At the end of KS2, pupil B did not sit the national assessments for Year 6 as he was unable to access much of the KS2 curriculum. However, he had made significant progress in his learning behaviour, embracing new learning and tackling all tasks with eagerness and curiosity. His confidence to take a risk with his learning, answer questions, share his opinions and speak with others had improved enormously.
He also made significant progress in many other areas: his confidence in drumming (where his teacher reported that his progress to be able to play along with a piece of music and then perform a drumming solo at the Blenheim Arts Festival was an outstanding achievement); performing at the karate display at the school fete in front of a large audience; participating in the Year 6 production; his independence and resilience when attending the school residential trip; his emotional development to talk about his experiences at home and at school; his social development to interact with a range of children; and, in particular, his focus and attention in lessons where he was able to maintain focus for longer periods, sustain attention independently and if necessary, return his focus to his learning more readily. Pupil B left Blenheim with the tools he needed to move on to secondary school successfully.
Case Study 3:
Pupil C struggled with basic number and mental fluency throughout KS1, finding it difficult to recognise numbers. He was unable to count in multiples or know how many tens and ones were in a number. He openly voiced his dislike of maths and would use avoidance techniques to avoid starting a task independently. He relied heavily on concrete resources to complete his learning but would frequently be unsuccessful in lessons. Pupil C accessed a number intervention, which focussed on basic number skills. He quickly became more confident in a smaller group and, as a result, he was more willing to engage in whole class learning. During the autumn term of Year 2, Pupil C was part of a maths focus group and had teacher support during each lesson. When he demonstrated that this level of support was no longer needed, he went on to have a learning partner who offered great support, which really motivated him to continue improving. Pupil C was regularly part of a micro-intervention each morning to consolidate the skills from the previous lesson. During practice tests, it was clear that he needed to verbalise his learning while solving a problem. This was something that we were mindful of, allowing the child to ‘think out loud’ during his test. Pupil C started the year struggling to be working towards the expected standard but ended Year 2 confidently at the expected standard, achieving a scaled score of 102.
Pupil C started the year on blue reading books; he relied heavily on his sounds and his reading was very stilted. He had additional 1-1 reading, 3 times a week, and he quickly made progress. By the end of KS1, he was reading age appropriate texts at a good speed and only pausing to decode unknown words. His confidence improved enormously as a result of targeted questioning during guided reading sessions and he went on to achieve the expected standard in reading at the end of KS1, with a scaled score of 103.
At the start of Year 2, Pupil C lacked independence in writing and struggled to formulate any ideas. When he did attempt to write, his writing was often a selection of phrases rather than sentences. When supported by the class teacher, he wasn’t able to hear that what he had written did not make sense. In the autumn term, his teacher’s marking focused on him filling in words to form complete sentences to expose him to full sentences. When he was successful at this, his next step involved writing his sentence on a whiteboard with tricks to ensure he remembered every word. This then allowed him to focus on using the correct punctuation, as he no longer needed to hold the sentence in his head. Pupil C continued to be a reluctant writer and would rarely produce more than one sentence during a lesson until he benefited from an intervention which focused on meeting his writing targets. As he started to recognise his successes, he became a more resilient writer and by the end of the year he was writing confidently and was able to challenge himself to use conjunctions other than ‘and.’ Pupil C achieved the expected standard for writing at the end of KS1.
Sports Premium Grant
Schools receive PE and Sport Premium funding based on the number of pupils in Years 1 to 6. Blenheim receives £16,000 and an additional payment of £10 per pupil. As an academy, the Education Funding Agency (EFA) sends the funding in 2 separate payments:
- 7/12 of the funding allocation in October
- 5/12 of the allocation in April