'Closing the Gap'

Pupil Premium at The Forest

For the year 2017/18 our Pupil Premium allocation from the Department for Education was £102,355. Please click on the documents to the left for further details regarding Pupil Premium Strategy and expenditure.

For the year 2016-17 our Pupil Premium allocation from the Department for Education was £117,450. This funding was directed towards 102 pupils who qualified for PP funding. Details of how the PP funding has been allocated will be coming soon. However, before this information is published, please read previous case studies, PP expenditure notes and PP Impact Statements.

In Sept 2015-16 our Pupil Premium allocation from the Department for Education was £134,200. The left hand menu provides case studies and statistics of how we used Pupil Premium funding in 2015-16.

In Sept 2014, we had 168 pupils (including two educated off-site pupils) who qualified for Pupil Premium (PP) funding. This included pupils who had qualified for free school meals at any time in the previous six years, those currently on Free School Meals, looked-after pupils and Forces children. It represented 17.5% of our school population.

Our Pupil Premium allocation from the Department for Education for the year April 2014- Mar 2015 is: £135,465.

The purpose of the PP funding: The purpose is to ‘close the gap’ between the attainment of our pupils from high-income families and that of our pupils from low-income families.  We look to do this both academically and by offering enrichment opportunities, for example theatre trips, and helping pupils develop their softer skills, such as their social and emotional intelligences. Whilst the attainment gap is a straightforward measure, it is far more difficult to measure softer skill development. Even tracking a pupil across several years and identifying academic progress will not necessarily prove the impact of one particular measure. Much of the evidence will come from interviews with the pupils, where a rise in self-esteem (which can be a stubborn problem to address) or an increased enthusiasm for school and/or life in general, can be seen.  

So far, PP funding has enabled:

Pupils to attend tuition (1:1 and otherwise) in key subjects The referral of vulnerable families to outside agencies
Pupils to be mentored by a PP mentor Pupils have correct equipment and resources for lessons
Support from our Parents' Support Adviser for pupils and their families              Assistance for pupils in the provision of uniform and PE kit
Pupils’ academic progress tracked Pupil independence
Pupils receive training in revision skills and  motivation Opportunities for travel
Music lessons for vulnerable and talented pupils alike     Opportunities for team-building
Non-school based extra-curricular activities Opportunities for improved self-esteem and self-confidence
Families participate in activities together Pupils engage more fully in school life
Laptops support education at home Support with transition to Key Stage 3
Improved school attendance Targeted support in Key Stage 3
Intervention tutors in English, Maths and Science Careers support – access to an individual careers interview with an independent advisor
Enhanced support for career profiling by using the Morrisby Profile

Pastoral monitoring and guidance through the Deputy Year Director



Our strategy has 7 main elements: 
Pupil premium mentor: One of the most important ways we have used to track the funding is to employ a Pupil Premium mentor, whose role is: *To track the academic progress of PP pupils, through data tracking, lesson observations and book looks. *To arrange suitable intervention and to evaluate the impact of said intervention. * To routinely mentor PP publis on a 1:1 basis, but more so in the case of underachievement. * To work in partnership with the Parent Support Adviser if there is a family issue around the PP pupil. *To liase and discuss strategic direction with PP intervention tutors. In addition, the Parent Support Adviser is part-funded to work with PP pupils and their families
Equality of opportunity: There are many less obvious ways of ‘making a difference’ to close ‘the gap’, so we have provided opportunities for participation in the Arts (such as dance lessons) and sport (such as gym membership), given subsidised places on school trips, and provided equipment, such as school stationery and books, which can be out of reach of some of our pupils; thus the funding is used to close the ‘opportunity divide’. Similarly, the funding may support the supply of equipment, including laptops, where necessary.
Family liaison: Our Parent Support Adviser now works more intensively with PP pupils and their families, identifying any need for intervention and implementing it effectively. Referring to outside agencies, where appropriate, for further information and support.
Academic data tracking: We track all pupils across all key stages through a published timetable of tracking dates.  The tracking data, which is completed by classroom teachers, is supplied to parents by way of the parents' portal.  Internally, we are able to see what progress each child is making based on their Key Stage 2 (KS2 covers Years 3-6) attainment.  Classroom teachers working with subject leaders, Year Directors and the Pupil Premium team, discuss intervention strategies where necessary. However, due to the small numbers of PP pupils, the data can be misleading, with one or two pupils having a significant impact on percentages and the ‘gap’. A focus on numbers rather than percentages, and on ‘value-added’ progress of the pupils, would more accurately reflect the achievement of PP students.
Academic intervention: When pupils are identified as under-achieving in relation to their KS2 results, suitable strategies are sought and implemented, such as 1:1 tuition with one of our experienced tutors; for 2014-15 we now have three interventionists across maths, English and science. (Also we can look to move pupils to a more suitable course, such as study skills.) From 2014-15 we also guide pupils towards doing one less GCSE and using the time to progress further in their maths, English and science. Finally we issue bespoke timetables to pupils who may be struggling in an optional subject and struggling in maths, English and science; it is far better that pupils focus on the latter subjects for their future well-being, so timetables are changed accordingly. It is important to note that intervention is not only applied at the lower end of the ability range.
Employment of staff and staff training: It has been important to get the right people working with our Pupil Premium pupils, in the shape of an academic mentor, a parent support adviser, three interventionists and several tutors; but equally as important will be the training of our teaching staff in effective feedback and behaviour management, which is a key focus going forward. It is important to note that we are mindful of the findings of the Sutton Trust, with regard to the impact of different strategies, and we will be focusing on teachers’ feedback to pupils, with this in mind.
Evaluation: Our PP staff have on-going discussions with each other and with pupils, parents, teachers and other professionals, to assess the impact of our work and adjust the approach accordingly.

Experience so far:

  • High-quality tutors have been difficult to find.
  • Every PP pupil is unique. Some have years of difficult social and emotional circumstances behind them and do not necessarily respond to interventions that are money based; often they need a nurturing environment in which to develop their confidence, self-esteem and address issues such as anger.
  • Low self-esteem is a more stubborn problem than poor literacy and numeracy.
  • We are considering employing a counsellor in addition to the use of the ARC organisation.
  • Many pupils have achieved academically and are well prepared for the future, although this may not manifest itself directly in 5 A*-C including English and maths.
  • Strong independent careers IAG has helped pupils prepare for the future and the risk of going NEET (Not in education, employment of training) is exceptionally low.
  • We have created a physical space in which tutoring, mentoring etc can take place.

The school’s planned next steps:

• Effective feedback – whole school.
• Differentiation (where work is provided appropriate to the ability of the child) – whole school.
• 'Book looks' specific to PP pupils.
• Deputy Head of Years Year 7-Year 11 to have PP responsibilities.
• 2 additional full-time interventionists (support worker skills working with the pupil on a 1-1 basis) - one in maths and the other in science.
• Bespoke Year 11 timetables introduced far earlier.

If you want to find out more about why the government introduced Pupil Premium, click hereFor further information on Pupil Premium at The Forest, please email: office@forest.wokingham.sch.uk