Foxfield School Pupil Premium Strategy 2017 / 2018
In 2011 the Government introduced Pupil Premium funding (PPF). This additional allocation of money to schools was based upon the number of pupils within each school who fell into different categories. The majority of PPF that Foxfield receives is based upon the number of pupils in receipt of free school meals (F.S.M.).The figure for F.S.M. is often used as an indicator of deprivation and there is considerable evidence that without additional support and provision pupils from less affluent backgrounds do not achieve or progress as well in schools as their counterparts who are not entitled to free school meals.
Schools may also receive additional allocations of money in response to the number of pupils on roll who are in the care of the Local Authority, have one or both parents in the armed forces (where they can often move schools regularly) or where their achievement in English and Maths at the point of transition to secondary school was below the Government’s target level. The sum that Foxfield receives for such circumstances is much lower than the funding received using the FSM measure. At Foxfield School 34% of the pupils were entitled to receive free school meals in September 2016. This figure is high in comparison to many other schools in Wirral and other parts of the country.
The Governing Body therefore have to annually decide how best to use the Pupil Premium funding delegated to the school to support those pupils from poorer backgrounds and then assess the impact of their spending decisions. This information then has to be reported on the school’s website.
Foxfield’s Pupil Premium funding for the financial year 2016 / 2017 = £47290
In May 2017 the Governors’ Pupils and Curriculum Committee were told about the impact of the use of PPF over the last year in the main strands of funded work. The work undertaken has benefited large numbers of pupils at Foxfield, not only including pupils who are on F.S.M. Some pupils have been beneficiaries of the work done in a number of PP funded areas while others may have only been involved in one. The PPF work at Foxfield has as its focus interventions and initiatives that will benefit pupils based on need, not only their F.S.M. entitlement. The school deliberately aims to enable as many pupils as possible to benefit from the additional activities provided through PPF each year.
Two of the areas of intervention undertaken were a continuation of the work that started in 2013/2014 to develop reading and literacy skills and to encourage pupil’s positive behaviours though individual behaviour support and emotional literacy sessions. Both of these areas of work have been consistently proactive and successful. There is strong evidence of improvements in reading progress, confidence and standards. The work on behaviour support has also had some impact on reducing incidents of challenging behaviour. Detailed data has been gathered and analysed to determine the decrease in incidents along with occasions when pupils require physical intervention by staff or injuries to staff occur. This work has however focussed on pupils in one particular class for a large part of this school year through necessity and because that was where most incidents were occurring. Between January 2017 and July 2017 this intensive focus on this class has meant that there has been a reduction in PPF work on behaviour support for other pupils and classes across the school. If Governors agree to continue behaviour support as a priority area for use of PPF then staffing arrangements will change in 2017/2018 to resume providing targeted input for more pupils across the school.
The two staff leading the work on Reading Support and Behaviour Support are Level 3 Teaching Assistants and each is funded through PPF to do this work for 3 days per week.
Governors also received reports on the two new PPF initiatives in 2016/2017. These were:
a) Sensory work involving the production of sensory assessments and profiles for relevant pupils provided by external specialist therapists from Shine Therapy. This work was overseen by Rebecca Ruscoe our Sensory Leader in school. We purchased 19 days from Shine Therapy over the academic year costing £7240. These days have consisted of some class based observations and time writing up reports. We have received reports for eight classes; these had higher priority based on pupil behaviour and complex diagnosis. We have also had four detailed reports for specific pupils that when observed presented with more significant needs. The reports were sent to the teachers who were then supported in writing formal sensory diets and given advice on activities. This information was fed back to parents and outside agencies who commented on the support that has been given and in some cases have led to implementing new strategies at home.
Feedback from teachers is that they have been pleased with the level of support available to them from this initiative and they have found that it has had an impact on behaviour and learning.
b) Additional work on developing pupils’ communication skills through purchasing an additional half day per week input from a Speech and Language Therapist (SALT) for the entire year. This Therapist was provided by the SALT Service within Health and the additional input at Foxfield would be guaranteed, would work in conjunction with the regular SALT and could be directed to areas and individuals we see as a priority. This could also include the planning and delivery of additional training for school staff. The planned cost of this additional SALT time was £4,734.
A report submitted to Governors confirms that a SALT has been into school for a half day each week. Her work has covered the areas of assessment and intervention and a variety of activities have been undertaken with individual pupils and staff. 22 pupils have been seen so far this academic year by this therapist.
Governors and school leaders are concerned however that this initiative has not achieved all that they hoped it would this year. The aim was to supplement and enhance the work undertaken each week by the Health funded SALT at Foxfield over the course of the school year. What has actually happened is that Health has withdrawn the regular SALT they had placed in school without any negotiation or satisfactory explanation, leaving only the PPF therapist in place. This has meant that despite her best efforts the investment in a PPF SALT to expand provision which could develop pupils’ communication skills has not been achieved for the majority of the school year.
The conclusion appears to be that working with Health to expand Foxfield’s SALT provision is unreliable and so other ways of improving communication work using different staff may bring about other sustainable benefits.
Employing specialist Occupational Therapists from Shine Therapy has had a positive impact and targeted specific pupils in need. Therefore some continuation of this work in 2017/2018 would appear beneficial.
Indicative Pupil Premium funding given to Foxfield for the financial year = £47805
(This figure can change during the financial year in response to changes in pupil circumstances including a pupil joining or leaving Foxfield who receives FSM or a child becomes the care of the Local Authority.)
In June 2017 the Governing Board once again considered the focus of their spending of the PPF in the coming year. The Headteacher proposed the continuation of some of the previous PPF work undertaken along with some new or amended approaches to build on and improve work begun in the areas of sensory support and communication.
The PPF interventions in school to develop literacy and reading skills and to encourage pupil’s positive behaviours though individual behaviour support and emotional literacy sessions are well established. Both have proven to have a clear, measurable impact year on year and Governors continue to be impressed by this work and its impact. They are therefore asked to approve the continuation of this important work in the school year 2017/2018 and its progress will continue to be monitored. The costs of this work are set out below.
The Governors were also asked to continue purchasing the services of specialist Occupational Therapists who can work with school staff to assess and plan interventions for pupils with high level sensory needs.
Governors were advised not to renew the purchasing of additional Speech and Language Therapist time from the Community Health Trust but to invest some PPF in an alternative approach to improve language and communication work across the school.
The planned spending of the Pupil Premium in 2017/2018 at Foxfield School will therefore be as follows
- £35034 to meet the costs of two Level 3 Teaching Assistants (2 x 3 days) who provide individual support to specific pupils across the school who need additional help in developing their reading skills or their behaviour. These staff work on specific programmes and strategies with particular pupils and the impact of their work can be monitored and assessed.
- To employ a specialist Occupational Therapist from Shine Therapy to work for 15 days at Foxfield priced at £5010 over the year 2017/2018 to continue undertaking sensory assessments of targeted pupils and produce reports outlining their personal sensory needs. This is time consuming work which involves observations, meetings with school staff, parents etc. This is a reduction from the 19 days purchased in 2016/2017 but is a good estimate by the Sensory Leader of the time required for this work with our pupils in the coming academic year.
- £5695 to release Michelle Ijewsky, Head of Communication to be released for half a day per week from her normal teaching timetable to enable her to work with pupils, classes and staff across the school and meet pupils’ communication needs. She will work with and guide the school’s two Language Assistants to maximise the impact of their work. It is hoped that Michelle’s work will also be in partnership with that provided by a Health funded Speech and Language Therapist at Foxfield but we will have to see if such a specialist returns to school given that Governors are no longer funding this.
- Finally as in previous years it is proposed to use the balance from the PPF to maintain the school’s position that extra curricular activities and opportunities are accessible to all pupils and no child will be prevented from participating in any extra curricular activities simply because their parents cannot pay for this. The school will use £2066 PPF to subsidise the broad range of extra curricular activities that are offered to pupils including residential trips and after school clubs. This money reduces or covers the costs where parents/carers need financial assistance to meet all or part of the fee charged to other families. This funding means that no pupil is prevented from participating is such activities because their parents cannot afford this.
Andre Baird, Headteacher