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Improving Pupil Premium attainment means following the evidence and focusing on classroom teaching

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Daniel Jones, Assistant Head teacher at Springfield Junior School, Ipswich, explains why their Pupil Premium approach focuses on classroom teaching

Springfield Junior School is part of the Research School network.

A third of our pupils at Springfield attract pupil premium. We have previously been recognised for our exceptional outcomes for disadvantaged pupils, and last year ninety per cent of our thirty year 6 pupil premium children achieved the expected standard in reading, writing and maths.

Many school leaders have asked us to share the principles we work from. We use evidence-based approaches as our starting points and carefully adapt them to our school context.

The most important factor for attainment and progress is effective teaching. This has been highlighted by the Sutton Trust, whose 2011 report on improving the impact of teachers on pupil achievement in the UK revealed that the effects of high-quality teaching are especially significant for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds – equivalent to 1.5 years’ worth of learning.

After considering how this could be realised amongst the myriad pressures of school life, we created additional time and space to prioritise professional development.

Pupils and the headteacher from Springfield Junior School posing with their Pupil Premium Award

On the final Friday of every month pupils take part in an enrichment afternoon that is run predominantly by support staff and enhanced by a few local visiting experts, for example a dance teacher or puppeteer. All sessions are based on PSHE themes and follow a rolling programme over the year.

Sources of evidence on effective delivery of CPD (such as The Teacher Development Trust’s report ‘Developing Great Teaching’ and the Department for Education ‘Standards for teachers’ professional development’) underline the importance of having regular sequential slots to develop teaching as opposed to spending an Inset day on an initiative, then returning to it halfway through the year. A three-day CPD programme, “Leading Learning”, is delivered by a number of Research Schools in our network to support school leaders with evidence-based CPD to maximise its impact.

As well as adopting these principles, our commitment to CPD extends beyond the teaching staff. Support staff have a weekly half-hour slot (during our singing assembly) that focuses on their needs run by different staff members from within the school.

Our pupil premium strategy is rooted in our whole-school ethos. We know that if you provide high-quality teaching that is effective for disadvantaged learners then you are providing effective teaching for all.

Springfield was the national primary winner in the 2017 Pupil Premium Awards. You can read more about Springfield’s approach at

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1 comment

  1. Comment by Ed Lott (40 years in education) posted on

    The issue is so many children living in serious social deprivation.
    The solution appears here as being improved practice in school classrooms.
    The pressure on school leaders and classroom teachers is immense.
    The promise is that these pupils will thereby regain one and a half years of learning opportunities.
    The proof is supposedly in ‘data’.
    Might there be something wrong with this picture?