Springfield Junior School

How can you make sure that schooling prepares all children (irrespective of advantage or disadvantage) properly for the future?

Case study by Daniel Jones.

Tell us about your school

Springfield Junior School leads a Teaching School Alliance and serves a community with high levels of deprivation. We have 350 pupils on roll and the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) shows 89% of our school population is in the bottom half of this deprivation scale. 35% of our pupils receive Pupil Premium Funding.

Some of our barriers to achievement are attendance, punctuality, pupils being ‘ready to learn’ and having age appropriate speech and language skills. These barriers often cause pupils to have conceptual gaps in their learning. Within our community there are examples of low aspirations, limited access to positive role-models, resources, books, libraries and positive life experiences. We face instances of a lack of parental engagement with school, including negative perceptions of education. Some pupils are in difficult home environments with a lack of regular routines including home reading, homework, spellings and having correct equipment in school.

What did you do to create such notable success with the pupil premium?

Our strategies broadly cover three key areas:

·         High quality teaching with targeted support

·         Pastoral provision

·         Enrichment and experiences

A Relentless Focus Quality Teaching

As a teaching school we have put on over 50 courses attended by delegates from 88 schools, which our staff have access to. In school, we release teaching staff simultaneously to meet for one afternoon monthly. Our monitoring of provision for disadvantaged pupils is robust and formalised in performance management systems.

We use research to identify solutions to challenges, trial them within our school and then share our practice. Recent examples include using the ‘Bar Method’ in maths and using ‘Loops of Learning’ to improve writing.

Building Effective Staff-Pupil Relationships/Dialogue

Each half term, pupils and teachers have 10 minute mentoring meetings. This has multiple benefits: it builds relationships and creates time to explore individual barriers to learning and promote resilience. It also enables teachers to introduce (and explain) precise learning targets.

Intervention

High adult pupil ratios across the school provide the capacity for numerous pre-planned intervention groups (and also ad-hoc interventions according to need). There is an absence of ‘intervention culture’ as groupings are fluid and cater for different abilities and subjects. These interventions take place before, during and after school.

Improving Reading

To improve reading we have a competition each week (across the school) between classes designed to ensure that each pupil reads 4 times at home per week. For pupils who cannot do this (often our disadvantaged pupils) we have a reading buddies system so that pupils can read aloud at school.

Smooth Transition

We ensure that pupils who join the school in year 3 have a successful transition with a programme which begins at the start of year 2. We have been committed over recent years to increasing the number of classes from 3 to 4, and ensuring there is a range of abilities in classes conducive to mixed ability learning. Disadvantaged pupils access more teacher time, and this reduces dips in attainment during year 3.

Pastoral Provision

Our daily breakfast club ensures pupils have a good breakfast, and are ready to learn. It improves attendance/punctuality and is an opportunity for extra reading/maths games and intervention groups.

Our Family Support Worker builds relationships with parents, attends meetings, maintains records which are shared (as appropriate) with relevant school staff so that class provision can be adapted. She supports 24% of our disadvantaged pupils and a further 12% have social service involvement.

Broadening Experiences

Each month pupils partake in a mixed aged ‘apprenticeships’ afternoon, led by local experts and instructors from a range of disciplines and focused on different countries and cultures.

We put on an extensive range of trips so pupils are acquainted firstly with their local area and, secondly, places of national interest (such as London). In this way, pupils experience more culture, history and geography.

Impact

The quality of our teaching and provision ensures that disadvantaged pupils achieve highly in English and maths. This is a sustained pattern. In October 2014 the school received an ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted judgment and the report stated, ‘disadvantaged pupils supported through the pupil premium make excellent progress’.

In 2016, progress of disadvantaged pupils was well above average in reading writing and maths. 89% of our disadvantaged pupils met the expected standard in these subjects. This was 29% above the figure for all pupils nationally.

What next for your pupil premium strategy?

We constantly reflect upon and evaluate our strategy, using research findings to look for solutions.

Currently we are considering refining approaches to reading. Data shows that pupils who read well have better outcomes than those who do not. Pupils who read better also read more and vice versa. Research shows the gap between those that read well (and those that read less) grows exponentially as children get older, creating problems not just in reading but in accessing and engaging with the curriculum. This is an area we want to develop as research also shows that disadvantaged pupils do read less in the evenings and during the holidays.

Sharing good practice

We offer thorough Pupil Premium Reviews, led by our Pupil Premium Lead, who is an accredited Pupil Premium Reviewer under the National College for Teaching and Leadership. We host visits for leaders from other Education Authorities and work with other Teaching School Alliances and also Research Schools. We run a half-termly Pupil Premium Forum attended by local leaders in this area to share good practice and ideas. We also have a blog on our Teaching School Website.

Winning the Award

Winning the award has been an affirming experience for all the staff who work so hard to ensure that every pupil at Springfield achieves very well, and also experiences a wide range of sporting and cultural opportunities.

We are currently scheduling our prizes so that as many pupils as possible can benefit. Our prizes include visits to the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the National Space Academy. The school will also receive resources from Apps for Good and History England. Pupils will benefit from a Royal Academy of Arts workshop and teachers will have training from ‘Into Film.

Get in touch

For information about our teaching school Alliance contact TSA@springfieldjuniors.net  - we offer a wide range of support including Pupil Premium Reviews.

Our Pupil Premium Lead is Daniel Jones, who can be contacted by email at d.jones@springfieldjuniors.net.