Overcoming the effects of Pupil deprivation at Penglais School. 2020 – 2021
At Penglais 14% of students are in receipt of Free School Meals. In order to receive FSM a family must be in receipt of benefits and have an income of no more than £16,190. In addition, students who are Looked After are entitled to the pupil deprivation grant for LAC which is distributed via the education consortium.
Save the Children estimate there are one in three children living in poverty in Wales; some of them are entitled to FSM, some are not and some refuse to or cannot apply.
Students who are facing deprivation currently perform less well than their peers in Wales. Some of the characteristics identified in the school experiences of students who face deprivation are:
- a poor attendance record;
- not accepting the school culture;
- having additional learning needs;
- have parents/guardians who are less likely to be involved in their children’s education;
- in the case of white working-class boys, are less likely to achieve their potential than any other group;
- not being able to ask for help easily;
- a lack of self-esteem and confidence;
- feeling ignored, shunned or demeaned by peers;
- rebelling or be different as a means of self-defence.
Research has found that schools should concentrate their interventions on the following areas if they are to make best use of the Pupil Deprivation Grant:
- Whole school approaches that focus on
Effective learning and teaching;
- Engaging parents/guardians and their families.
- Strengthening links with their communities’ particularly through out of hours learning and mentoring interventions as a way of supporting aspirations.
(Egan, 2014, Making Effective use of the Pupil Deprivation Grant.)
Another source of information is the Sutton Trust Toolkit of Strategies to Improve Learning. The Sutton Trust have collated a significant amount of evidence relating to intervention strategies and have identified the strategies which provide the highest gain for students with varying levels of cost. The strategy which provides the highest advantage was effective feedback from teachers to students. The feedback can be written, verbal or high-quality peer and self-assessment. Having high quality homework was also identified as a strategy which would provide gains for students for low costs. In addition, peer mentoring and meta-cognition have shown to provide gains for all students with low costs.
With the research provided by the Sutton trust, Egan and recommendations from Estyn we will be implementing a number of initiatives to support the progress and wellbeing of students facing deprivation.
We aim to provide:
- high quality teaching and learning in the classroom;
- challenging and interesting homework tasks which enrich students understanding and develop independent study skills;
- high quality feedback during lessons and in books;
- high expectations for all students with a clear tracking process which enables us to intervene with additional support if a student is in danger of underachieving;
- a curriculum which is balanced, broad and challenging for all students;
- career support for all students which is timely and purposeful;
- timely attendance tracking with follow up actions implemented accordingly in line with LA policies and procedures;
- emotional support from pastoral teams and in Hafan which allow students to engage in school life and the curriculum;
- pastoral teams who engage parents/guardians through regular contact and positive relationships;
- appropriate CPD for all staff in raising awareness of the impact of deprivation on students’ ability to learn and succeed;
- provide library facilities which are available before, after and during the school day.
All staff at Penglais will:
- identify FSM students discreetly in mark books and never display SIMS with FSM list visible;
- maintain the highest expectations of all students and convey them regularly;
- support positive future aspirations for all students;
- deliver high quality lessons which challenge all;
- provide high quality feedback to students;
- provide equipment whenever necessary to students who are experiencing deprivation or who are in receipt of FSM;
- pass on concerns immediately to a member of the appropriate pastoral team if a student is displaying signs of physical hardship e.g. lethargy, hunger, lack of clean uniform;
- when planning trips, we must ensure that the trips are supporting learning and be sensitive to all students making them accessible to all;
- request use of hardship funds whenever possible;
- encourage use of homework clubs and the library;
- be mindful when asking general questions such as “did you have a good holiday/Christmas” and assuming there are two parents at home. Many students living in deprivation may not live with one parent and may be being cared for by family members or social services.
The Pastoral teams will:
- Identify hard to reach parents/guardians who do not attend parents’ evenings and encourage a dialogue with school;
- have identified the students are who are facing deprivation who are on low incomes and / or FSM;
- support teachers in providing information and responding if subject teachers pass on any relevant information.
- Provide nurture group provision for those students identified;
- interview identified students by the pastoral team who are in receipt of FSM and mentor those who need it;
- provide qualification opportunities for those who find mainstream curriculum inaccessible in Key Stage 4.
Penglais School: spending of the Deprivation Grant
- Hafan Outreach Support
- Pastoral Support
- KS4 support
- Counselling service
- Leaders of Achievement
- Support staff
- Option choice support
- Equipment and educational activity support