Research School Network: Understanding the Tiered Model and Menu of Approaches for Pupil Premium Becky Grimshaw explains how to revise and renew your pupil premium strategy for the upcoming school year.


Understanding the Tiered Model and Menu of Approaches for Pupil Premium

Becky Grimshaw explains how to revise and renew your pupil premium strategy for the upcoming school year.

by Manchester Communication Research School
on the

December 2023

These are a series of blogs designed to guide leaders who are new to writing and reviewing a pupil premium strategy to ensure that it is used as an evidence-informed approach for closing the poverty-related attainment gap. These may also be beneficial to those wishing to refresh their knowledge whilst updating and refining their strategies for the new year.

To ensure the effective implementation of evidence-informed strategies for pupil premium, the EEF introduced The Tiered Model and Menu of Approaches’. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what to consider when using educational research. 

Understanding the Tiered Model and Menu of Approaches for Pupil Premium

The Tiered Model is a framework designed to maximise the impact of strategies and funding by tailoring interventions to the unique needs of disadvantaged pupils. This model aligns with the DfE strategy template and menu of approaches, so school leaders can be confident that their school improvement approaches meet the needs of the pupil premium strategy document.’ (EEF, 2022, p2)

Tier 1: High Quality Teaching:

At the foundation of the Tiered Model is Tier 1, which emphasises high-quality teaching practices for all students. This tier recognises that the bedrock of academic success lies in effective classroom teaching. Ensuring that every student receives quality teaching is the first step toward narrowing the achievement gap.

Tier 2: Targeted Academic Support:

For students who require additional academic support, Tier 2 comes into play. This tier focuses on targeted interventions that address specific learning needs. This could involve small-group sessions, additional tutoring, or the provision of specialised resources, all tailored to help students overcome their challenges.

Tier 3: Wider strategies:

Tier 3 is reserved for non-academic barriers to learning. It offers more intensive support, often in the form of attendance interventions, improving behaviour, and parental engagement approaches.

The tiered model has been planned with a 2 paged evidence brief’ to support and signpost to high-quality evidence for considered strategies. This will also be very useful when completing the evidence section of your pupil premium strategy. The 2‑page evidence brief can be accessed here.


When considering a strategy it is important to question if it solves a challenge that you have. It is very easy to be led down a pathway of this strategy for literacy looks amazing and may improve the outcomes of our writing skills, when actually through digging deeper into the literacy evidence from your school it is reading that needs more focus. After you have identified a strategy that might work. Consider whether it addresses a challenge that your students need support with. Your challenges may look very different to the school down the road.

Next, consider how much the strategy will improve the outcomes of our students and how much it is going to cost. The EEF toolkit is a great guide for helping you to consider these points. The Toolkit provides you with an impact rating in academic months progress and a score out of 5 for cost for strategies you may be considering implementing. The strategy that is the easiest to implement may not be the most effective in academic outcomes or cost. Another consideration when thinking of cost could be the cost of time rather than money. How much of the teachers’ and students’ time is this going to take against the months progress we will gain back?

Finally, consider if it will work here. Context is key in improving disadvantage outcomes and not every strategy works in every setting. You need to think hard about the specific contextual factors of your school, and any necessary intelligent adaptations’’ (EEF, 2022, p8) you may need to make. The research can guide you in the right direction giving you the best bets and insights but cannot tell you exactly what to do.

It’s also important to recognise that the implementation of new strategies is not a quick one-off event. Implementing new strategies requires careful planning, adequate resources, and professional development and support for staff. More information and support on how to ensure implementation is effective can be found in the EEF Putting Evidence to Work – A School’s Guide to Implementation. 


By tailoring support to individual needs, leveraging evidence-based practices, fostering collaboration, and consistently monitoring progress, schools can unlock the full potential of every student, ensuring that Pupil Premium funding is deployed effectively to close the attainment gap.


EEF. (2022). EEF The EEF Guide to the Pupil Premium. p.2./ p.8. Available from here

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