Press release: Pupil Premium Awards 2015 winners congratulated

Schools across the country have today (25 March 2015) been awarded individual prizes worth up to £250,000 in the 2015 Pupil Premium Awards that recognise their success at improving the attainment of their most disadvantaged pupils.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg handed out prizes and congratulated the 4 national winners and 62 finalists, runners up and high aspiration award winners on their innovative and effective use of the funding.

The pupil premium – extra funding which schools receive to support their disadvantaged pupils – is worth £2.5 billion this year alone. Recent results show the positive impact which the pupil premium has had in raising the attainment of disadvantaged pupils and closing the attainment gap.

Pupil premium primary children achieved their best ever results this year, and the new attainment gap index shows that the real attainment gap is narrowing at both primary and secondary levels.

The awards ceremony, held in London, provided an opportunity to reward and recognise the schools doing the most to raise attainment and close the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers as well as to showcase examples of the most effective practice which other schools can learn from.

The Deputy Prime Minister said:

It is a huge injustice that in 21st century Britain a child’s success or failure is often determined by their parents’ income or social class.

That’s why the pupil premium is so important. This year alone we have provided £2.5 billion of funding to help almost 2 million youngsters go further. And we are seeing results. If all pupil premium schools did as well as the very best, I hope we can see the attainment gap closed in the next decade.

This has been one of my proudest achievements in government and all of this year’s finalists are shining examples of how much can be achieved. Through initiatives like these we can together build a fairer society for all, where every child’s achievement is determined by ability and not by the circumstances of their birth.

Schools Minister David Laws said:

I am proud to congratulate the winners of this year’s Pupil Premium Awards, which recognise and reward our excellent schools and teachers who are making a real difference to the lives of disadvantaged pupils.

The Pupil Premium Awards will raise aspirations by identifying the most innovative and effective use of the pupil premium in raising attainment. I hope all schools will learn from these excellent examples, so we can continue the vital progress we have made towards closing the attainment gap.

The pupil premium is helping to build a fairer society for all, giving teachers the resources they need to ensure all pupils get the best possible start in life and can go on to achieve their full potential.

National winners were announced in the secondary, primary, special and pupil referral unit, and infant and key stage 3 categories.

The national winners are:

Ark Charter Academy, Portsmouth, which has won £250,000 in the secondary category.

In 2014 82% of the school’s disadvantaged pupils achieved 5+ A* to C GCSEs including English and mathematics, against a national average of 36.5%. The school runs a longer day to make sure there is additional time to help pupil premium pupils with core academic subjects, including study groups on maths and literacy for struggling pupils. Pupil premium funding is also used beyond the classroom to provide pupils with a wider experience of life, including sailing and boxing activities, subsidised trips to universities and theatrical performances.

Parkfield Community School, Birmingham, which has won £100,000 in the primary category.

In 2014 82% of the school’s disadvantaged pupils achieved the expected reading level (L4+) and 78% achieved a higher level of L4b+ against a national average of 53%. Analysis of pupil premium pupil performance in maths also showed those pupils without a computer at home were falling behind, and finding it difficult to complete homework. The school used its pupil premium funding to set up a maths breakfast club for pupil premium pupils without a computer at home which has resulted in significantly increased attainment.

Queensmill School, London, which has won £100,000 in the special schools and alternative provision category.

Queensmill inspired the judges because they could see how much can be achieved with disadvantaged children and young people who have autism. The school works with the Institute of Education, University of London and other research partners to learn more about the benefits of sensory interventions with autistic pupils and other evidence-based activities to support both autistic and pupil premium pupils. This is supplemented by access to flexible IT resources with specialist software that develops oral communication and extra occupational therapy to reduce pupils’ anxieties and make sure they are in a calm mindset, ready to learn.

Belle Vue Infant School, Hampshire, which has won £10,000 in the Infant and key stage 3 category.

An additional teacher was employed with pupil premium funding to help provide targeted support for pupil premium pupils. The school invested in one-to-one activities, particularly focussed on reading because it feeds in to every subject, as well as a summer club where small groups received extra support in reading, writing and maths. Parents of pupil premium pupils were invited into the school to discuss their child’s education and learning, and parent play sessions have also engaged fathers, who were previously very hard to reach.

Thousands of pupils in almost 600 schools will benefit as a result of this year’s awards, which recognise the schools which are using their pupil premium in the most innovative and effective ways.

The Pupil Premium Awards reward schools which are able to provide evidence of effective strategies to improve the achievement of disadvantaged pupils and show sustained improvement in raising their attainment.

This year’s awards show the positive impact which the pupil premium is having on attainment and progress towards closing the gap in the winning schools. In this year’s awards key stage 4 finalist schools have narrowed the gap between their own pupil premium and non-pupil premium pupils from 20 percentage points in 2011 to 10 percentage points on average in 2014. At key stage 2 they have reduced the gap from 16 percentage points in 2012 to 2 percentage points on average in 2014.

Estimates suggest that if all schools improved by as much as this year’s key stage 2 finalists, approximately 30,000 more pupil premium pupils would achieve the expected standard nationally. If all secondary schools improved attainment by as much as this year’s key stage 4 finalists, approximately 24,000 more pupil premium pupils nationally would achieve 5 good GCSEs including English and maths.

Up to £4 million of prize money will also be awarded in the 2016 awards and schools are being encouraged to act now to review what they are doing in their school and ensure they are using the pupil premium effectively – using tools such as the evidence-based Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) toolkit or by undertaking a pupil premium review.

Today, Schools Minister David Laws also announced up to £800,000 funding would be available for outstanding teaching schools to help other schools use evidence and research more effectively to close the attainment gap. The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) and the EEF will jointly fund the initiative, which will be open to this year’s and all previous Pupil Premium Awards finalists to work with teaching schools.

Notes to editors

  1. A full list of winners in the 2015 Pupil Premium Awards is available.
  2. The awards are run by the Department for Education in partnership with TES.
  3. The 2015 awards have been judged by the following panel of independent experts:
    • Sir John Dunford OBE
    • Dr Kevan Collins
    • Professor Becky Francis
    • Dr Hilary Emery
    • Jane Lees CBE
    • Sir William Atkinson
    • Usha Sahni OBE
  4. Read more about the 2015 and 2016 Pupil Premium Awards, including eligibility criteria and further details on how schools can apply for next year’s awards at the Pupil Premium Awards website.
  5. Schools are held accountable for how they spend their pupil premium funding in the following ways:
    • through the attainment and progress of their eligible pupils in the performance tables and the gap between these pupils and the national average of non-eligible pupils
    • through the Ofsted inspection framework
    • through the requirement for schools to publish details online of how they spend their funding and its impact each year

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