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Why use the pupil premium to provide a Place2Be?

17/07/2013

Following the recent announcements by Schools Minister David Laws that schools will be held to greater account for disadvantaged pupils' attainment, it's more important than ever for schools to spend their pupil premium effectively.

The pupil premium is additional funding given to schools so that they can support their disadvantaged pupils and close the attainment gap between them and their peers. In 2013-14, schools will receive £900 per child.

Many of the schools that Place2Be work in use the pupil premium to fund Place2Be's services, given the impact that our services have on classroom behaviour and attitudes to learning.

Amanda Dawson, Head teacher at Mellers Primary School in Nottingham, discusses her decision to use some of the pupil premium to support her pupils through Place2Be.

 

Amanda Dawson.jpg"Our school is situated in Radford, Nottingham. 88% of our children are from a black or ethnic minority group, and 55% of them speak English as an additional language.

This is great - it means we're part of a vibrant, exciting community. But a lot of our children come from backgrounds experiencing significant deprivation: 50% of our children receive free school meals (FSM), and neglect and physical and emotional abuse are sadly common.

Challenging pupil backgrounds

There are also community challenges - there are active gangs in the area, and drugs and guns are prevalent. It means young people, especially boys, are vulnerable to being preyed on. If they're from a difficult family background, the offers of a gang are very attractive. This leads to behavioural problems within the classroom and emotional problems beyond.

So our pupils benefit greatly from the pupil premium. We're an aspirational school, smashing glass ceilings - last year we got our best SATs results ever - and providing a range of interventions to support the wellbeing of pupils from deprived backgrounds.

We're proud of what we offer our students - our FSM pupils make the same progress as any other pupil.

Place2Be at Mellers School

Place2Be is one of these interventions - we spend a third of our pupil premium on the service. It's a critical part of the package we offer the children, a tried-and-tested method of helping children cope.

The space offered by Place2Be supports their wellbeing and helps smooth any wrinkles in the emotional fabric, in turn allowing them to make academic progress. You can put all the booster groups and academic support in place, but unless you deal with the emotional side of things, you won't get anywhere.

 Exceptional progress

One pupil, for example, was with us from Year 1, and came from a background of neglect and significant social services' involvement. His learning levels were very low, Level 1 across the board, but intensive access to Place2Be meant that he made exceptional progress.

He became visibly happier and more settled, and he is now at Levels 4 in maths and reading and Level3 in writing. The children love Place2Be - even the youngest ones know about it and understand what it's for.

Place2Be is a big investment financially, but we absolutely wouldn't be without it. It's not an add-on to the school - it's a major artery that runs through it benefitting teachers and whole classes as well as individual children.

 Ofsted agree - in our last report, they were satisfied that the targeted use of the pupil premium for Place2Be is an effective use of funds." 

Find out more about Place2Be's services in schools

 

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