The government invests money in schools via the pupil premium, which is additional to main school funding, because it believes it is the best way to address the current underlying inequalities between disadvantaged children and their peers by ensuring that funding to tackle disadvantage reaches the pupils who need it most.
Our intention is that all pupils, irrespective of their background or challenges they may face, make good progress and attain highly across al subject areas. At Joseph's we ensure that teaching and learning meets the needs of all our pupils. There is a school-wide commitment to securing and raising achievement for disadvantage pupils; this includes securing progress for those who are already high attainers.
St Joseph's serves an area of high deprivation and dense social housing, the families we work with are increasingly marginalised as the demographics of the surrounding area change. Overcrowding, poor physical health, high levels of mental health issues and unemployment are higher than many other parts of the borough. Our children experienced physical and emotional hardship during the recent lockdowns as the conditions they lived in were not conducive to home learning. This makes our educational community more determined than ever to provide high quality learning experiences and a safe, happy environment for them to learn in.
We are highly ambitious, respond to what we know to be good practice, draw on research and ensure that our vision for improvement is clear. High-quality teaching is at the heart of our approach and research evidence proves that this will have the greatest impact on closing any attainment gaps and will also benefit non-disadvantaged pupils at our school.
A strategic and personalised approach to professional development ensures that all pupils have access to high quality teachers and are supported by experienced and well-trained support staff. Our Inclusion team work closely with families to remove barriers to learning. Throughout the pandemic, school staff worked tirelessly to provide food, technology and support to all our families. We also ensure that effective teaching, learning and assessment meets the needs of all pupils through the rigorous analysis of data. Pupil Premium funding is allocated following a needs analysis which identifies priority individuals, groups or classes but also considers class dynamics and provision for children with high needs.
The overall aims of our pupil premium strategy are:
- To address barriers to learning by providing carefully designed support and intervention within the school by high quality professional staff
- To reduce any attainment gaps between the school's disadvantaged pupils and others nationally
- To raise the in-school attainment of both disadvantaged pupils and their peers
- To provide an exciting relevant, broad and balanced curriculum that empowers every child.
Our strategy has been responsive to the impact of the global pandemic and draws on the national plans for education recovery, particularly in the support offered through academic mentor and the school led tutoring programmes. The funds allocated through this initiative are targeted as pupils whose education has been most impacted, particularly disadvantaged pupils. In St. Joseph's, where 43% of the children are from disadvantaged backgrounds and many of the remaining children tend to be just above thresholds for this measure, everything is aimed at improving the children's life chances and gaining the most positive outcomes attainable. The staff at St. Joseph's work tirelessly to achieve this and it is central to the ethos of the school.