Pupil Premium

How do we intend to support our students in receipt of the Pupil Premium?

  • The vision of The Downs School is ‘educating today’s students for the world of tomorrow,’ and it is achieving this vision for all the students belonging to our school, irrespective of their background or the financial circumstances of their families that is the driving force behind what we plan to achieve for our most disadvantaged students.


  • Although The Downs School is in a relatively affluent area of the country, there are nonetheless significant areas of poverty within our village communities, which makes some of our less affluent children more conscious of the challenges they face than might be the case if they lived in a less affluent and more urban setting. Our strategy intends to provide our disadvantaged students with the support they need to achieve the same level of academic success as that achieved by their more affluent peers, which we will accomplish by using the pupil premium to target support where we think it will have the greatest impact. Our pupil premium strategy therefore prioritises making improvements to the quality of education received by our pupil premium students, while at the same time recognising that individual students in receipt of the pupil premium will experience specific barriers to learning that they need support to overcome.


  • We have used the pupil premium to provide targeted support in English and Maths that, if successful, will enhance the skills our disadvantaged students need to achieve success across the full curriculum. Similarly, we have prioritised the development of students’ literacy skills, especially reading and vocabulary, which have been negatively impacted by lost learning at primary level during the pandemic. We believe that developing these skills, together with a focus on oracy, will equip our most disadvantaged students with the knowledge and skills that are a prerequisite for wider success.


  • Our disadvantaged students are more likely than their more affluent peers to have experienced adverse childhood experiences that affect their ability to learn. For this reason, we have prioritised the development of therapeutic approaches to behaviour that help develop pro-social behaviours while still having high expectations. We also focus on improving the attendance of disadvantaged students, which has been affected worse than that of more affluent students by the pandemic, knowing that high rates of absence are a primary cause of disrupted learning.


What are the common barriers to learning experienced by our students in receipt of the Pupil Premium?

  • Pupil premium students experience on average higher numbers of adverse childhood experiences which, combined with other impacts of disadvantage, impact on their readiness to learn


  • The attendance of pupil premium students as a group is lower than that of non-pupil premium students, primarily because of the proportionately higher numbers of pupil premium students who are persistent absentees


  • The literacy and oracy skills of pupil premium students are on average not as well-developed as those of non-pupil premium students, which has been exacerbated by the lockdowns


  • Disadvantaged students arrive in TDS with significant learning gaps compared with their non-disadvantaged peers, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic.


What are the key approaches for supporting students in receipt of the Pupil Premium?


Overcome barriers to learning for individual disadvantaged students: improve teacher understanding of barriers to learning by sharing Challenge and Support Plans and using Wednesday briefing slots to share good practice; use Pupil Premium Progress Manager to provide individual support; use SLT time to lead the provision of support for disadvantaged students

Develop breadth of students’ reading and use of more ambitious vocabulary: use programme of whole school INSET to train staff to broaden the range of vocabulary students are explicitly taught, as well as encouraging greater breadth and depth of reading, in part by devoting more homework time to reading

Provide targeted support to KS3 disadvantaged students through the Reading for Purpose programme

Improve oracy skills in order to develop both literacy and thinking skills: Provide Year Seven and Eight disadvantaged students with oracy sessions led by PPPM. Use whole school INSET time and the quality assurance process to improve the teaching of oracy across the curriculum.


Targeted academic support:

Reduce class sizes in English and Mathematics to facilitate more targeted support: additional progress classes for students in English and Mathematics

Provide online Maths tuition for all PP students: develop a programme of targeted intervention using the online Maths programme

Provide tuition for disadvantaged students across the curriculum: use school staff to provide booster sessions to targeted students

Provide disadvantaged students with access to resources and educational experiences, such as trips, they would not otherwise be able to experience


Wider outcomes:

Improve attendance of disadvantaged students: use Gold award to motivate students to improve attendance; PPPM to liaise with parents and develop attendance plans for students who are persistent absentees

Provide students on Free School Meals with enhanced provision

Improve behaviour of disadvantaged students and therefore reduce amount of lost learning: use therapeutic approaches to behaviour in the classroom to support disadvantaged students with behavioural issues; provide therapeutic support to individual disadvantaged students who have specific needs; use peer mentoring to provide additional support to individual students.



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