Schools have been receiving Pupil Premium since 2011 and there is much material available to us to learn from. There are reviews on the Ofsted and DfE websites. Schools display their spending plans on their websites. There have also been Pupil Premium awards. These materials can help guide our thinking but we don’t have to follow them implicitly.
Learning from the awards
Awards in 2014 were given to schools who had developed a range of strategies to support vulnerable children and families. The strategies included some of the following:
- focus on specific curriculum areas eg maths breakfast clubs
- focus on attendance eg walking buses
- longer sessions
- specialist suppport focusing on ensuring children are in the right place to learn
- family support
- widening the child’s experiences to raise aspirations and develop recreational interests eg visits, networking opportunities
- purchasing specialist equipment eg laptops
Learning from the Ofsted reviews
Ofsted have evaluated what they feel makes the difference in regard to how Pupil Premium is spent. The list below sets out some things to consider with regard to EYPP. The examples used here illustrate how the early years sector could use this information to suit our priorities.
- Ring-fencing the money so it is clearly targeted on those children it is intended for eg training to improve outcomes for these specific children, family support etc
- Spending needs to be allocated following analysis of available data from a range of sources eg tracking systems, audits or comments
- High quality teaching impacts on learning eg looking at adult interactions to ensure learning opportunities are maximised and not closed down
- Being specific with feedback to children eg being clear about what you are praising a child for rather than just saying well done
- The senior leadership – ie managers and owners – have a clear overview of how all the money will be spent. Staff and parents need to have ownership of this as well. See the page on including parents.
- Monitoring is effective and relates to the strategy and focuses on progress made eg regularly recording a child talking to show development in complexity as well as clarity of speech etc
- Governors need to be involved in the allocation and evaluation of the spending cycle. This would be the committee in the PVI sector
- Attendance is optimised. Attendance is an important factor in ensuring progress is being made. This could be a challenge for some in the early years sector as it is not a statutory phase. It is worth investigating ways of ensuring attendance has a high profile to establish good habits and to ensure the strategy will be as effective as possible. The EPPE resreach shows that frequent attendance is a factor in improving outcomes for children. There is a focus on attendance in the revised Ofsted evaluation schedule.
Some of these strands will require little or no investment but may require a change in attitude from staff. These strands contribute to good quality early years practice.