Our intention is that all students, irrespective of their background or the challenges they face, are safe, happy, proud, loving and able to flourish in both their school life and beyond. Our strategy is driven by student need, not labels.
The focus of our pupil premium strategy is to support socio-economically disadvantaged students to achieve our intentions for them, including progress for those who are already high attainers. We will define what we consider to be meant by “premium students” and this will encompass our DISADVANTAGED students, but not be limited to them as we consider the full gamut of students facing socio-economic disadvantage and we will work to ensure that they all will receive a broad and balanced curriculum that allows them to make good progress and achieve their highest attainment across the whole curriculum. We recognize that disadvantage affects students in a myriad of ways including marginalisation, lack of cultural capital for schema-building which can often, but not always, be linked to lower levels of oral language and a limited vocabulary. These limiting issues can all lead to negative perceptions of themselves as learners and of their place in school and may have been compounded in the past by experience of lower expectations due to the DISADVANTAGED (and other) label. We will also consider the challenges faced by extremely vulnerable students, such as those who have a social worker, are LAC or Post-LAC and/or are young carers. We will map intersectionality to ensure that the most disadvantaged do not slip through the cracks and instead receive the best care and education. We want our students to have wide and far-reaching aspirations as a result of the knowledge and experiences that we have given them throughout their time at St. Mary’s. The activity we have outlined in this statement is also intended to support their needs, regardless of whether they are disadvantaged or not.
High-quality inclusive teaching is the keystone of our strategy, with a focus on key curriculum areas in which disadvantaged students require the most support. High Quality Inclusive Teaching is proven to have the greatest impact on closing the disadvantage attainment gap and at the same time will benefit the non-disadvantaged students in schools “Good teaching is the most important lever schools have to improve outcomes for disadvantaged students.” - EEF. Implicit in the intended outcomes detailed below, is the intention that non-disadvantaged students’ attainment will be sustained and improved alongside progress for their disadvantaged peers.
Pupil Premium Strategy
Pupil premium strategy statement
This statement details our school’s use of pupil premium (and recovery premium for the 2022 to 2023 academic year) funding to help improve the attainment of our disadvantaged students (2022-2025).
It outlines our pupil premium strategy, how we intend to spend the funding in this academic year and the effect that last year’s spending of pupil premium had within our school.
St. Mary’s Catholic High School
Number of students in school
1,557 (Y7-13) at 24.10.23
1,317 (Y7-11) at 24.10.23
Proportion (%) of pupil premium eligible students
Academic year/years that our current pupil premium strategy plan covers (3-year plans are recommended)
Date this statement was published
Date on which it will be reviewed
Statement authorised by
Denise Maxwell Brahms, Headteacher
Pupil premium lead
Emma Meredith, Senior Assistant Headteacher
Governor / Trustee lead
Pupil premium funding allocation this academic year
Recovery premium funding allocation this academic year
Pupil premium funding carried forward from previous years (enter £0 if not applicable)
Total budget for this academic year
If your school is an academy in a trust that pools this funding, state the amount available to your school this academic year
Our intention is that all students, irrespective of their background or the challenges they face, feel that they belong at St. Mary’s and that they are safe, happy, proud, loving and able to flourish in both their school life and beyond; it is imperative that as a Catholic school we are "a school for all,” Identity of a Catholic School, 2022. Therefore, in this world where cost-of-living has become common parlance and economic disadvantage has hit new levels, it is imperative that our strategy continues to be driven by student need, not labels. To ensure the best access to all that education has to offer, we intend that our disadvantaged students are assisted in attending school via the removal of such barriers that they face.
The focus of our pupil premium strategy is to support socio-economically disadvantaged students to achieve our intentions for them, including progress for those who are already high attainers. We will define what we consider to be meant by “premium students” and this will encompass our Pupil Premium Students but not be limited to them as we consider the full gamut of students facing socio-economic disadvantage. We will work to ensure that they will all receive a broad and balanced curriculum that allows them to make good progress and achieve their highest attainment across the whole curriculum. We recognise that disadvantage affects students in a myriad of ways, including marginalisation, lack of cultural capital for schema-building which can often, but not always, be linked to lower levels of oral language and a limited vocabulary. These limiting issues can lead to negative perceptions of themselves as learners and of their place in school and may have been compounded in the past by experience of lower expectations due to the Disadvantaged (and other) labels. We will also consider the challenges faced by extremely vulnerable students, such as those who have a social worker, are LAC or Post-LAC and/or are young carers. We will map intersectionality to ensure that the most disadvantaged (and those considered “double/triple disadvantaged”) do not slip through the cracks and instead receive the best care and education. We want our students to have wide and far-reaching aspirations as a result of the knowledge and experiences that we have given them throughout their time at St. Mary’s.
High-quality inclusive teaching is the keystone of our strategy, with a focus on key curriculum areas in which disadvantaged students require the most support. High quality inclusive teaching is proven to have the greatest impact on closing the disadvantage attainment gap and at the same time will benefit the non-disadvantaged students in schools “Good teaching is the most important lever schools have to improve outcomes for disadvantaged students.” - EEF. Implicit in the intended outcomes detailed below, is the intention that non-disadvantaged students’ attainment will be sustained and improved alongside progress for their disadvantaged peers.
Our strategy is also integral to wider school plans for education recovery, notably in its targeted support through the National Tutoring Programme whose education has been worst affected, including non-disadvantaged students. We intend to target this support where it will have the most impact based on data and evidence.
Our approach will be responsive to a range of diagnosed, identified and both data-evidenced and research-evidenced common challenges but also will consider individual needs and circumstances. It will not rely on assumptions about the impact of disadvantage. The strategies and approaches that we are using work together to ensure that our students flourish.
To ensure they are effective we will:
Addressing Educational Disadvantage in Schools and Colleges: The Essex Way, Ed: M Rowland, 2021
Challenges – This section details the key challenges to achievement that we have identified among our disadvantaged students.
Detail of challenge
Reflecting national trends, the gap for Y11 GCSE results showed a widening gap (discussed in evaluation). From SISRA, the Subject Progress Index data shows that, for the 2023 GCSE results and the current Y11 predictions (based on Y10 summer data) for results in 2023, there are 9 subjects with significantly negative residuals for DISADVANTAGED students.
These subjects are Art, Computing, English Literature, Geography, Maths, Photography, Physics, RE and Sport.
KS3-5 will be a focus along with transition to ensure that provision for all Premium students is the best it can be.
NGRT reading tests show that suspected literacy gaps are real:
Compared with all Y7-11, there is a nine-month gap in average reading ages for disadvantaged pupils. Students with a Standardised Assessment Score of below 85 on NGRT are classified as ‘red readers’ and will be offered bespoke intervention.
The gaps show variations across the Y7-year groups and indicate disproportionate numbers of DISADVANTAGED in the red-reader categories.
The strategy has made some inroads over the last year but literacy remains a priority.
Attendance and suspensions
In 22-23, 42% of DISADVANTAGED students have been ‘persistently absent’ and DISADVANTAGED students are disproportionately represented in the Severely Absent numbers.
Our assessments and observations indicate that absenteeism is negatively impacting disadvantaged students’ progress, under 90% leads to at least one grade lower across average total attainment and under 50% showed as 6 grades lower across average total attainment.
Emotionally Based School Avoidance is coming through student and parent voice through meetings and internal truancy as a major factor in this gap.
5/6 students who did not sit any exams due to prolonged absence issues were Disadvantage students.
By July21.07.23 22/58 suspended students were PP (38%). Students were over-represented in the suspension figures. 13 F and 9 M continuing the trend of increasing F suspensions.
Self-regulation – emotion and mental health impact upon our students’ ability to learn and their resultant behaviours impact upon another students’ ability to learn.
The wider pastoral team (including BASE, the school counsellor and EFT therapist) has a strong mental health focus but their case load was full by the middle of September and there are more students requiring assistance daily. The DISADVANTAGED students make up a disproportionate amount of the caseload.
The DISADVANTAGED cohort make up a disproportionate number of mental health referrals and in the year 22/23 there were not only an increasing number of students with suicidal ideation/suicidal planning but also an increasing number of carers for parents with extreme mental health issues. We expect all of this to continue to rise into 23-24 as social services and all other external service continue to raise their thresholds.
Mental health issues are impacting upon students’ abilities to stay in classrooms all day and this emotionally based school avoidance is showing as internal truancy as well as persistent and severe absence. National studies show that our data is reflected across the country and we have a Relational Behaviour System and a Belonging Focus as a key part of our drive to raise attendance both to school and lessons.
Succeeding academically relies on good attendance https://ffteducationdatalab.org.uk/2023/07/the-impact-of-absence-on-progress-8/
Therefore, the strong links between Challenges 3 and 4 (and their resultant impact on 1 and 2), makes them a key focus for the Pastoral and Family Support Officer who will work on those
areas through Challenge 5, Parental Engagement.
Parental engagement -- Covid shutdowns increased the engagement of many of the more vulnerable DISADVANTAGED students’ parents due to many visits and weekly phone calls, provision of digital hardware, food parcels, electricity meter payments etc.
For some of those parents, engagement continued but for many it has reverted back to pre-pandemic times and indeed declined. They are a vital part of the learning journey for vulnerable students. Schools Week, The Guardian and EEF all report that parental engagement with schools across the country is down and this has had resultant rising absence rates and rising rates of lesson avoidance and poor behaviour; we have seen the national issues reflected in our own school setting and will continue to target parental engagement by growing it in those engaging and tackling, challenging and growing it in parents where dis-engagement is present.
The cost-of-living crisis is hitting hard with our community and parental engagement is vital if we are to ensure that our students are safe, flourishing and happy.
Aspirations and future-thinking have taken a hit as a result of the pandemic.
7/8 NEETS (October 2022) were PP. This has a direct link to attendance as 5 of them were int eh 6 that did not attend school. We continue to work on transition through Y10 and y11 with a both our P16 colleagues and also external services. A new transition protocol for Y11-12 will come into force this year and a renewed focus on PP students in Y12 to make sure that they are able to succeed.
This explains the outcomes we are aiming for by the end of our current strategy plan, and how we will measure whether they have been achieved.
Think First, Think Twice: Improve the progress among disadvantaged students across the curriculum and close the gap between them and their disadvantaged peers.
Closure of the gaps across the 5 identified subjects.
Reduced P8 gap between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students in all subject areas.
Increased average P8 figures for disadvantaged students.
The nine identified subjects to significantly close the gaps towards zero and do this consistently across all three key stages.
Think First, Think Twice: Increased routes into P16/ decline in NEETS for all disadvantaged students
To raise the aspirations of all disadvantaged students through quality CEIAG and strategic use of RONI data.
Destinations data shows that there is a decline in the number of NEETS overall.
Destinations data shows that all disadvantaged students have started an aspirational pathway at P16.
Decline in proportion of DISADVANTAGED present in lowest point scores
Think First, Think Twice: Increase and sustain the increases in attendance for disadvantaged students.
Decrease in PA for all students and a decrease in the proportion of disadvantaged students with PA.
Decrease in SA for all students and a decrease in the proportion of disadvantaged students with SA.
Decrease in the number of suspension incidences for disadvantaged students.
Decrease in the number of disadvantaged students being suspended.
Sustained high attendance such that by 2024 the overall absence rate for all students being no more than 4% and the gap between disadvantaged students and non-disadvantaged students being reduced by 50%.
By 2024 exclusion rates of DP students to have no more than 5% gap with non-disadvantaged students and the numbers of incidences to have reduced to at least the same margins.
The rising number of female suspensions will stop rising in 2023 and come back in line with males in 2024 through a range of inclusion strategies.
Think First, Think Twice: Literacy
Increase in reading competence and comprehension such that gaps between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students narrow across KS3 and KS4.
Improved P8 figures for all year groups as evidence by internal data and at KS4 as evidence by external data.
NGRT tests show a closure of gaps between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged reading ages to less than 6 months in each year group in the first year.
Greater opportunities for extended reading as evidenced in lesson observations and schemes of work.
Numbers in Red reader groups are proportionate to the numbers in disadvantaged groups.
Think First, Think Twice: Greater mental health and wellbeing provision for all students, especially disadvantaged students and a promotion of relational approaches and a sense of belonging across all areas of school.
Correct signposting for students with emerging issues.
Parental engagement and education such that they can better support their children.
Increasing numbers accessing all co-curricular activities including weekly clubs, trips and extra lessons (e.g. music).
Student leadership has a full representation at all of levels of DP students.
Students and parents have a range of proactive materials to enable early targeting and self-help.
Time2Talk is well-attended and pupil voice reports that it signposts on when necessary.
Early identification through greater awareness, a range of assessment tools and through wider understanding of the universal offer.
Wide range of services with relationships with school (including and beyond Time2Talk) allowing for ease and speed of access
Registers and membership lists show at least a proportional number of DP students.
Student leadership shows a more than proportional number of DP students at all levels of leadership.
Activity in this academic year (2023-24)
This details how we intend to spend our pupil premium (and recovery premium funding) this academic year to address the challenges listed above.
Teaching (for example, CPD, recruitment and retention)
Budgeted cost: £200,000
Evidence that supports this approach
Challenge number(s) addressed
Literacy, form time programme, disciplinary literacy CPD, GL assessments undertaken
CPD to have Think First Think Twice running through it – CMS to advise all staff
Pastoral and Family Liaison Support Officer with a focus on attendance and well-being to remove the barriers to the classroom; particular focus on ensuring food available in a mentoring environment, parental engagement through provision of basic needs where cost of living is making prohibitive so that the choice between food and school is not necessary.
Moving Forwards, making a difference, EEF, 2022 “despite some recovery since summer 2021, pupils not performing as well in maths and reading as pre-pandemic cohorts”
Combining big “winners” of mentoring, parental engagement and meal provision in targeting attendance.
The results were eye-opening. Perhaps most strikingly, three out of four of the statements we analysed identified attendance as a barrier. Putting its urgency in stark relief, attendance was the most common challenge cited, marginally ahead of literacy. We know that tackling persistent absence has risen to the top of many schools’ agendas. And, with pupils eligible for PP funding more likely to be persistently absent from school, there is a clear role for the it to be utilised to support attendance.
https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/jun/28/covid-poverty-pupil-absence-england-schools-social-economic-pandemic-families - cites, poverty, housing and a more relaxed style of parenting from WfH parents as reasons why students don’t attend school. PFLSO will work to remove barriers and reduce both severe and persistent absence.
3, 4, 5
Teaching and learning
HQIT – 5 a-day approach tightened and embedded
Think First, Think Twice for all vulnerabilities
Formative assessment to close gaps within the lesson.
Scaffolding reading and writing to support all learners.
Literacy - cost of canon, training, reciprocal, NGRT costs, phonics and oracy
SISRA training for all and especially targeted at the 9 subjects
TA provision and training
Purchase and Use of Sparx for both English and maths.
Purchase of exam board online revision guides
Good teaching is the most important lever schools have to improve outcomes for disadvantaged pupils. Using the Pupil Premium to improve teaching quality benefits all students and has a particularly positive effect on children eligible for the Pupil Premium. This has been internally evidenced through subject voice at KS4 13/10/2023 where all DP students cited staff start the lesson with five questions from our prior learning. This underpins the philosophy that should “know more, remember more” to support their learning. It is also integral that teachers utilise formative assessment within the lesson to check for understanding to ensure all students have an equitable curriculum diet and that gaps are swiftly closed, and learning continues. This was launched 1/9/2023 and since all QA has shown the use of mini whiteboards are used to underpin learning.
During 30/10/23 All staff will undertake training relating to scaffolding reading and writing to ensure barriers to academic learning is removing simple barriers such as unfamiliar vocabulary or guided reading. GL Assessment Read All About It, 2020
There is a significant correlation between student reading ability and eventual performance across all subjects at GCSE, which is just as strong in maths and sciences as it is in arts subjects.
Literacy is key to learning across all subjects in secondary school and a strong predictor of outcomes in later life. • Disciplinary literacy is an approach to improving literacy across the curriculum that emphasises the importance of subject specific support. • All teachers should be supported to understand how to teach students to read, write and communicate effectively in their subjects. • School leaders can help teachers by ensuring training related to literacy prioritises subject specificity over general approaches https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/education-evidence/guidance-reports/literacy-ks3-ks4
Supporting every pupil to succeed academically is a significant challenge for teachers and teaching assistants. The EEF’s research evidence suggests there is a set of five core practices that can support all pupils
1, 2, 3, 5, 6
Targeted academic support (for example, tutoring, one-to-one support structured interventions)
Budgeted cost: £65,500
Evidence that supports this approach
Challenge number(s) addressed
Reciprocal reading training and Implementation
Y11 Mentor for 7 students outside of the Focus 30 in danger of underachieving
Going to be small focused Y11 groups with mini-bus home and food incentives – to start post mocks
Reading comprehension strategies, which focus on the learners’ understanding of written text, are rated as high impact on the EEF Toolkit. Reciprocal reading is a structured approach to teaching strategies (questioning, clarifying, summarising and predicting) that students can use to improve their reading comprehension. https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/projects-and-evaluation/projects/reciprocal-reading
Oral language interventions are based on the idea that comprehension and reading skills benefit from explicit discussion of either content or processes of learning, or both, oral language interventions aim to support learners’ use of vocabulary, articulation of ideas and spoken expression.
Very high impact for very low cost based on extensive evidence.
Small group tuition is most likely to be effective if it is targeted at pupils’ specific needs. Diagnostic assessment can be used to assess the best way to target support.
1, 2 ,3, 4, 5, 6
Wider strategies (for example, related to attendance, behaviour, wellbeing)
Budgeted cost: £83,364
Evidence that supports this approach
Challenge number(s) addressed
Cross curricular offer
Time to talk
Pastoral and Family Liaison officer
RETRACE – DBT training
LA Attendance officer
TESS funded one day a week for the year
EFT Therapist funded one day a week for the year
Funding for experiential learning through co-curricular, music lessons, digital provision through loaned laptop scheme
Safeguarding and mental health training
Use of RONI data
Promoting an understanding of the link between ACEs and trauma within schools, and provide better access to therapeutic support and more specialist targeted support for those where this link exists State of Child Poverty 2021 report https://buttleuk.org/news/news-list/state-of-child-poverty-2021/
Increasing numbers of girls are excluded from school via a rise in suspensions and also through self-exclusion through school refusal. Mentoring and aspirational coaching, home visits and reducing mental health issues all helping in bringing down exclusion rates.
Range of FFT datalab articles to confirm the link to absence and attainment but also the changes in attendance nationally since the pandemic
The relationship between higher absence and lower Progress 8 scores is clear. Pupils who missed less than 1% of sessions across Year 10 and 11 had an average P8 score of +0.73, while those who missed 50% of sessions or more had an average score of -2.83. (That the first negative average score is seen after the boundary for “persistent absence” is coincidental.)
The schools we speak to across ImpactEd Group tell us the approaches they used pre-pandemic are simply no longer working. The data across England would seem to bear this out: persistent absence in summer 2023 was 24.3 per cent, compared to 21 per cent in the spring term and 24.9 per cent in autumn.
The huge disruption to schooling has affected all children, particularly those from poorer families, with long-term effects on their educational progression and labour market performance. Younger generations have experienced disrupted education and they face a tougher labour market than that seen prior to the pandemic. https://ifs.org.uk/inequality/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/BN-Inequalities-in-education-skills-and-incomes-in-the-UK-the-implications-of-the-COVID-19-pandemic.pdf
There is great “importance of robust attendance data tracking and monitoring systems in schools, to address attendance issues. This allows patterns of absence to be scrutinised and then targeted interventions to be put in place. It also allows schools to monitor the effectiveness of any interventions they are putting in place to improve attendance and readjust as necessary. This is far more effective than general approaches to improving attendance” DFE Supporting the attainment of disadvantage pupils brief
Positive impacts were found for both parental communication approaches and targeted parental engagement interventions. The impact was larger for targeted approaches. Responsive intervention in which a member of staff or team use multiple interventions and target approaches specifically to the needs of individual pupils was also found to be effective. Attendance Interventions Rapid Evidence Assessment, EEF, 2022
2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Total budgeted cost: £348,864
Pupil premium strategy outcomes
This details the impact that our pupil premium activity had on students in the 2021 to 2022 academic year.
Six students did not attend school despite best efforts of school and a full range of external services (including Social Services and Attendance enforcement) and 5 of these were PP students. This had a significant impact on results of improving the gap by 0.48.
DfE data from October shows a significant gap; modelling without these students shows a much-reduced gap. This is further evidence for our need to ensure that all students and especially our premium students are attending school and lessons to ensure the best chances of good outcomes for them.
331 revision guides were purchased and distributed (Computing, History, Geography and English from the 11 target subjects, others were business, science, RE and Music); every premium student had the resources that they needed for revision. They also had information on HOW to revise delivered both in person and sent to them via the Satchel One platform.
54% of Severe Absence students were PP students (Y7-11) and these are a major target for 23-26. SISRA showed that even between 95%-90% attendance there was a whole grade drop and severe absence has major negative impact on attainment. Extensive work was done with the LA and with external services which enabled the school to inform staffing decisions for 23/24 to employ pastoral and family liaison support officer to assist with this along with purchasing an AV1 robot.
In 21/22 42% of suspensions were PP and this rose to 45% in 22/23. Absolute numbers increased from 15 students in 21/22 to 29 in 22/23 (8 students are repeated in 22/23 from 21/22). Suspensions through years 7 to 11.
20% of permanent exclusions in 22-23 were PP students (in line with school figures); this was for a physical assault of an adult.
84 students (y7-10) received intervention for reading based on reading ages last year.
19 of these students were Pupil premium students making up 22% of the cohort, slightly above the proportion of PP students in school. Of the 84, 55 (65%) narrowed their reading deficit with 63% of PP students narrowing their gaps (similar progress made based on data from NGRT testing SAS scores). 8 of the students were both PP and SEN and 7 of them made good progress (88%).
23% of all books borrowed from the library in 22/23 were borrowed by PP pupils (Y7-11), this is higher than the 20% of students who are PP and is also an increase from 22% in 21/22.
Teaching and Learning:
Use of 5-a-day approach: walk-thrus purchased and cold calling has become an embedded form of assessment for learning. A range of CPD was delivered using the walk-thrus and continue to be used in depts to engage students and deepen knowledge and understanding.
Music lessons funded for GCSE Y11 and Y10 pupils: The impact this had on Y11 individual performance grades, at 30% of their overall mark was significant. 2 out of 3 pupils exceeded expectations in performance element and one with serious attendance issues attained a 5 in performance (2 overall).
The tutoring approach was changed in the academic year 22-23 from 21-22; an online after school approach was used rather than an in-school during curriculum time approach. This was not a successful change and students did not willingly partake in it. Uptake was very poor (Y8 = 8, Y9 = 4, Y11 = 15) despite many calls and discussions with parents. In those that did agree to take part, attendance was very poor and again this was despite parental contact through emails and phone calls. There was a message from most parents and carers that it was “up to the child.” Where there was better parental support, there was better attendance. Attendance was excellent for those students for whom tutoring was provided on a 1-2-1 basis.
The company (Equal Education) was helpful, completed baselines, worked to them and delivered good quality tutoring to the very few that took part.
In all, tutoring could not be deemed a success this year and a different approach is being undertaken in 23-24.
Externally provided programmes
Please include the names of any non-DfE programmes that you purchased in the previous academic year. This will help the Department for Education identify which ones are popular in England