Research School Network: That’s what I go to school for… What do we need to provide inside and outside of the classroom to support pupils to overcome the challenges they may face?

That’s what I go to school for…

What do we need to provide inside and outside of the classroom to support pupils to overcome the challenges they may face?

by Great Heights Research School: West Yorkshire
on the

Writing in 2016, Ofsted referred to the most effective schools as those who had a much wider definition of disadvantage where the unique circumstances surrounding an individual child, group of children or family’. Seven years on, the complexity of understanding household circumstances has been heightened as we live with the consequences of a global pandemic and a cost-of-living crisis that is having an impact on all children not just those eligible for Pupil Premium.

Do you have a rich picture’ of how disadvantage affects your pupils and families to inform your PP strategy? What might help develop a more nuanced picture?

So, what do these children come to school for? What do we need to do to address the barriers to their achievement? We might filter our answer through the tiered model design which punctuates the DfE strategy template.

A broad strokes Case Study- School A

At this single form entry primary school, 36% of pupils are eligible for Pupil Premium. Some of these children having a relatively small sense of place, they make few, if any, journeys out of the local town and have access to limited wider experiences outside of school. Some children lack confidence and when faced with challenging work they give up, a minority of children then display negative behaviours. On entry, in line with the evidence, they have a less significant word haul when compared to some of their peers. It is also clear that there are a significant number of invisible’ children who are increasingly reliant on the school for additional provision. 



Tiered Model

Funding for extra- curricular activities including trips.Children lack background knowledge and vocabulary needed to access the wider curriculum. They need to be immersed in learning experiences that stimulate meaningful dialogue. This will also provide an opportunity for them to engage in new learning experiences- opportunity for pupils to experience success.
Explicit links made to taught curriculum.

Wider strategies/​Teaching

Daily breakfast for all pupilsMany children are coming into school without breakfast including pupils that aren’t eligible. Part of the school day with an emphasis on reinforcing social and emotional learning skills and sense of school community.Wider strategies
Teacher CPD focusing on building word rich classroomsA whole school approach to the development of vocabulary needed including explicit teaching of tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary. Significant investment in staff development needed, teachers need time and space to identify vocabulary and trial strategies.Teaching
Whole class approach to reading fluency (Fixing Fluency)Opportunity to hear all pupils read a quality text. Not all pupils read at home, parental engagement strategies ongoing but this ensures no pupil goes without. Emphasis on supporting pupils to internalise strategies for reading unfamiliar texts.Teaching

The case study above gives insight into some of the thought processes that enable completion of the DfE template.

What are the barriers for your pupils? What do they come to school for?

Related Events

Show all events

More from the Great Heights Research School: West Yorkshire

Show all news

This website collects a number of cookies from its users for improving your overall experience of the site.Read more