Is Your Primary School Worthy Of A Pupil Premium Award?

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Published: 17th August 2014
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The Pupil Premium Awards have been established to celebrate effective use of the Pupil Premium to improve the attainment of disadvantaged pupils. From its introduction in 2011, the Pupil Premium has been an invaluable source of funding for schools, amounting to an impressive 900 per pupil eligible for free school meals (FSM) for the year 2013-2014. Using the funding appropriately to get the most out of it can prove a challenge for schools though, particularly those which receive a lot of funding and which are therefore expected to achieve a lot. That's why the government has decided to make an active effort to recognise schools who do well, rewarding them with prizes and holding them up as an example to inspire other schools via the Pupil Premium Awards.

Schools can nominate themselves for the awards but there are helpful guidelines they should consider to see how appropriate a nomination is for their school that year. For example, schools which narrow the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and other pupils are unlikely to be rewarded if the overall standards of attainment have dropped. This is because the funding has been allocated with the objective of improving attainment across all disadvantaged pupils, whether they were high achievers before or not; it is not designed to fund 'catch up' programmes. Schools which do submit themselves for consideration must be prepared to provide evidence that objectively demonstrates how they have used their Pupil Premium funding to achieve measurable progression among their disadvantaged pupils.

The best schools in each English region will be recognised and regional winners will go on to the final where overall prizes will be announced, which, according to the Deputy Prime Minister's announcement last year, could be anything up to 10,000. The reception will take place in London, this year on the 8th of July. The awards are to be judged by an independent panel of education experts who will be looking for the continued use of innovation and professionalism to achieve progression among disadvantaged pupils within the selected schools. All regional and national winners will be recognised.

Unfortunately, the closing date for this year passed in April so schools which have not entered should set their sights on next year if they think that their school deserves attention. In order to prepare, schools need to establish a logging system so that they can collect objective data on the attainment of their disadvantaged pupils which can be used as evidence. Without this data, schools are unlikely to be considered. Schools can also submit supporting material but it must be relevant to their entry and cannot exceed three documents of a maximum of 2 pages long. Most of all though, to really be in with a chance of winning prizes for their schools, Head teachers and staff need to think of innovative ways in which they can use their Pupil Premium allocation to make a lasting and obvious difference within their school. There have been many successful programmes across the country including mentoring, one to one tutoring, after school clubs and many other ideas so schools will have to find what works for them. Schools which do help their disadvantaged pupils are a success in themselves whether it is recognised or not but a Pupil Premium Award is certainly an added bonus.

Hannah McCarthy works for Education City, which provides eLearning resources for Key Stage 1 and 2. Visit the Education City website to find general information about the Pupil Premium and testimonials from schools who use Education City resources.

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