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Houghton Regis Academy

Pupil Premium Information

Pupil Premium – allocation and impact


July 2018

Pupil Premium – allocation and impact

What is Pupil Premium?

The pupil premium is additional funding given to publicly funded schools in England to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils and close the gap between them and their peers.

Pupil premium funding is available to both mainstream and non-mainstream schools, such as special schools and pupil referral units. It is paid to schools according to the number of pupils who have been:

  • registered as eligible for free school meals at any point in the last 6 years
  • been in care for 1 day or longer

Houghton Regis Academy allocation:

In the 2017 to 2018 financial year, schools received the following funding for each child registered as eligible for free school meals at any point in the last 6 years:

  • £1,320 for pupils in reception year to year 6
  • £935 for pupils in year 7 to year 11

Schools also received £1,900 for each pupil who left local-authority care because of 1 of the following:

  • adoption
  • a special guardianship order
  • a child arrangements order
  • a residence order

If a pupil has been registered as eligible for free school meals and has also left local-authority care for any of the reasons above, they will attract the £1,900 rate.

Children who have been in local-authority care for 1 day or more also attract £1,900 of pupil premium funding. Funding for these pupils doesn’t go to their school; it goes to the virtual school head (VSH) in the local authority that looks after the child. VSHs are responsible for managing pupil premium funding for looked-after children.

In the 2016 to 2017 financial year, schools received the following funding for each child registered as eligible for free school meals at any point in the last 6 years:

  • £1,320 for pupils in reception year to year 6
  • £935 for pupils in year 7 to year 11

Effective use of Pupil Premium

The HRA approach to using the Pupil Premium funding wisely has been to consider the learning needs of groups of pupils, and address these needs, using whichever strategy we believe is most likely to succeed. Essentially, our approach has been to put the learning first. Rather than thinking: here is a pot of money let’s spend it. Or, think up a number of strategies and start implementing them in a haphazard manner. Our approach is based on research; the learning of our pupils and the belief that high quality teaching is the best way to ensure disadvantaged pupils achieve well.

Research and actions

Various groups, notably the Sutton Trust, have conducted research into the most effective use of Pupil Premium funding in terms of improved pupil progress. The most obvious finding is that the quality of teaching and learning is the most important factor in allowing all pupils, but especially disadvantaged pupils, to achieve progress.

The average student makes 40% more progress with highly effective teaching than they do with poor teaching. A disadvantaged student can make 50% less progress than the average student with poor teaching. This shows that disadvantaged children are disproportionately affected by the quality of teaching.

Therefore, a priority for HRA has been the quality of teaching; the development of the practice of all teachers and funding, where necessary, strategies, resources and training that will lead to improved teaching and learning. This view was supported by Sir Michael Wilshaw, speaking at a Sutton Trust and Education Endowment Foundation event on the 1st July 2015, when he said: “[school improvement was] not about using pupil premium money to employ additional staff and lots of teaching assistants, learning mentors and psychotherapists…It’s about employing good teachers who can teach across the ability range.” 

Viviane Robinson showed that there are five dimensions of effective school leadership. All of these dimensions related to improved outcomes for pupils, but the one that stands out is that of leading teacher learning and development, i.e. developing teachers’ capacity to identify issues, improve their own practice, collaborate with colleagues and take control over their learning. With this in mind, since April 2013 HRA has had a wide-ranging programme of CPD with sessions running most Tuesday evenings. We have also benefitted from being part of a Trust that has the development of teaching and learning as one of its guiding principles. Most weeks, teachers from HRA will visit other Academies to receive training or take part in workshops; and leading practitioners visit HRA frequently. Pupil premium funding supports all of these activities.

Some of the CPD that has taken place so far this academic year:

  • Using data to empower effective teaching
  • Classcharts
  • Building challenge through progressive learning objectives
  • Writing non-fiction
  • Safeguarding
  • PDR
  • Talk for learning
  • Marking for progress
  • Questioning
  • Moderation
  • De-escalation strategies
  • The teaching of spelling, punctuation and grammar across the curriculum
  • Use of Technologies: Tips & tricks
  • E-safety
  • SIMS/PTL/Processes
  • Smartboard training
  • Quality homework
  • Quality marking: portfolio of good practice
  • The use of apostrophes
  • Understanding UMS and how this relates to forecasting GCSE grades
  • Progress 8

Examples of workshops / training provided through GDFT this year:

  • Inclusion grids
  • Improving outcomes in KS3 Science
  • Literacy leaders conferences (several different session)
  • Numeracy leaders conferences (several sessions)
  • Sports leadership courses and conferences
  • Curriculum planning workshops
  • Subject adviser meetings for Maths, English, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, History, Geography, MFL, PE
  • Prevent strategy
  • SENCo specific guidance and training

The Sutton Trust-EEF Toolkit

The Sutton Trust-EFF Toolkit gives a solid evidence base for making decisions about how to improve outcomes for pupils and how best to effectively spend the Pupil Premium funding. Thousands of individual studies have been categorised and summarised showing average cost and average progress gains.

It has to be remembered that the results are averages, and some strategies may still be worth pursuing but notice should be taken of the potential for money to be wasted if ideas are ill-thought through, or not linked specifically to the needs of learners and expected outcomes.

The highest ranked intervention strategies:


Some of the lowest ranked intervention strategies:

Selecting strategies

The Sutton Trust evidence suggests that marking and feedback, although virtually cost free, is one of the most effective methods of improving progress. Therefore, HRA have focussed on improving the quality of marking in a variety of ways.

Work scrutinies: we have found that rather than a few senior teachers looking at books and then offering feedback to whole staff and individuals; it is far more effective for the whole staff to take part in work scrutinies. Therefore, on a regular basis we will ask staff to produce every book for a whole year group and we will all look at the books and all complete feedback sheets.

Marking clinics: every teacher meets with a senior member of staff to look through a sample of marking. Individual targets and time frames are agreed and followed up with monitoring.

Sharing best practice: examples of the best marking were shared with all teachers to demonstrate expectations

Book browse: teachers look through all of the books belonging to a pupil that they teach; allowing teachers to see the standards achieved in other areas and offering an opportunity to reflect on the quality in his/her own books.

Marking aids, such as stamps, were given to all teachers to help ensure formative marking is a regular feature of feedback.

One to one, or small group tuition has been proven to have good measurable outcomes. The Pupil Premium funding has allowed for more pupils to receive this type of support than would have otherwise been possible. We are also introducing Switch-on Reading, a scheme that has proven benefits (Switch-on ReadingEvaluation Report and Executive Summary, EEF, 2014) for weaker readers and is based upon training TAs to deliver highly effective 1-to-1 reading tuition. The Sutton Trust Toolkit ranks TAs as one of the least effective strategies for pupil progress, so this scheme has the added advantage of allowing the school to deploy those colleagues in a more advantageous capacity.

After school programmes are a strategy that can be expensive but with a limited, on average, impact. However, our own tracking has demonstrated that after-school and lunchtime booster sessions have aided accelerated progress. The more detailed analysis provided by the Sutton trust explains that where the after school programmes have been successful, the following has been evident:

Programmes with greater structure, a strong link to the curriculum, well-qualified and well-trained staff are more clearly related to academic benefits.

Particularly promising after school activities include one to one or small group tuition.

Enrichment activities (such as sports or arts engagement) may have positive benefits on attitudes, but these alone will not improve academic learning.

Booster activities to support revision and test or exam practice are likely to improve results.

The SuttonTrust-EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit

The Pupil Premium funding has been used to support activities that meet these criteria.

Teaching assistants are shown to be a very expensive resource for little demonstrable impact. However, most teachers will attest to the positive impact of a ‘good’ TA. HRA have not appointed any extra TAs with Pupil Premium money, but we have appointed an experienced SENCo to help maximise the impact of learning support. We also dedicated a significant proportion of a training day to exercises aimed at improving how teachers and TAs work together to improve progress. We are intending to upskill these colleagues with the Switch-on Reading training (March 2017).

Identifying activities where TAs can support learning, rather than simply managing tasks.

Providing support and training for teachers and TAs so that they understand how to work together effectively, e.g. by making time for discussion to talk before and after lessons.

Ensuring that teachers do not reduce their support or input to the pupils supported by TAs that TAs are focused on learning as opposed to just ensuring that pupils finish their work.

The SuttonTrust-EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit

The Sutton Trust provide the following ‘best bets’:

Reducing class size was found to be expensive but not necessarily highly effective. The studies showed “It appears to be very hard to achieve improvements from class size reductions above 20, e.g. from 30 to 25.” But where reductions can be made to below 20, then improvements in learning are often achieved. Also, it is likely that a higher standard of feedback can be achieved in a small class setting.

With our relatively small cohorts it would be necessary, without pupil premium funding, to teach in class sizes well above average. However, with pupil premium, we have managed to keep most classes below 30. We are also able to offer a broader range of choices at Key Stage 4 due to pupil premium funding. Most optional subjects have class sizes of below 20 pupils; these can be taught and resourced with the help of pupil premium funding.

Sports, Arts and participation in outdoor adventure learning have all been proven to have positive impacts on learning. Interestingly, the most effective result is in pupils’ improved attitudes and enjoyment of school. Academic gains may not be easy to demonstrate as a direct result of these types of activities but there are gains in terms of relationships between pupils and teachers.


Pupil Premium funding is used to provide sports equipment; cover the costs of fixtures and kit; provide support to academy drama and music productions and all pupils are entitled to free music lessons if they want them. We have also been able to offer free curriculum linked trips to support pupils’ learning. For example, the art department have taken pupils to Tate Modern and the London Aquarium; there has been a year 10 History and Maths trip to the Imperial War Museum. For two consecutive years our Year 11 pupils have all been able to go to the theatre to see a production of one of their GCSE English Literature set texts. The Year 10 Triple Science group went to a science conference at the Emanuel Centre in London covering detailed aspects of their GCSE course. Some pupils have visited Oxford University to take part in a day whereby girls in Year 10 who may wish to follow a degree in a science related course can experience a day spent in an Oxford College. All of these activities were funded or subsidised with Pupil Premium money.

Focus on the learning

One of the guiding principles of HRA is that to improve learning, you must focus on the learning, not the teaching. The starting point is to identify which group of learners have a need that is to be addressed, and specify that need very clearly. Once that has been achieved, then an appropriate strategy or teaching skill can be identified with a clear outcome expected.

Within each curriculum area there will be strategies identified and if training or resources are required, Pupil Premium funding can be used to support the needs of teachers and pupils.

For example, improving reading has been a whole Academy focus for the past two years. A number of approaches have been identified, some requiring Pupil Premium funding. Strategies include:

  • Switch-on Reading programme
  • Wider range of texts available for English teaching
  • High quality teaching resources
  • Revision books provided for pupils
  • Extra tuition for weak readers
  • Booster sessions
  • Smaller class sizes in English
  • Supporting events such as World Book Day
  • Kudos careers guidance

These will be enhanced by the forthcoming introduction of the Switch-on Reading programme.

Summary of activities supported by Pupil Premium funding:

  • Additional resources in English and Mathematics to provide additional teaching groups which were smaller (where staffing allowed). This allowed for additional support for vulnerable students where it had been identified that they were underachieving
  • Curriculum support - additional time focusing on Mathematics and English with extra small group or one-to-one support, focused on low literacy and numeracy levels and where the rate of progress was not as expected
  • Gifted and Talented programme to inspire and motivate pupils
  • Careers education for pupils to support vocational curriculum
  • Learning mentor support funded via pupil premium, including provision of anger management, one-to-one support and mentoring
  • Inclusion support provision funded by pupil premium
  • Support for specific curriculum needs, such as ingredients for food technology practicals, sports kit and so on.
  • Targetted off-site alternative provision
  • Support from outside agencies available for those students wishing to have individual appointments to help in a variety of circumstances
  • Curriculum trips and enrichment activities subsidised or part-subsidised to prevent social exclusion, including uniform and sports uniform provided free of charge to support parents
  • Residential outward bounds style trip for Year 8
  • Sports Day
  • Transport to fixtures and other off-site activities
  • Free music lessons offered to all interested pupils
  • Purchase of specialist software to enable pupils to be identified as requiring extra time in public examinations
  • Purchase of specialist curriculum software to enable higher achievement and greater gains in progress

Breakdown of Pupil Premium expenditure

Houghton Regis Academy


Pupil Premium Expenditure


Academic Year 2016/17


Total Income received






Other Costs


Reading Interventions


including an enhanced library service, librarian time spent choosing appropriate books



Attendance Interventions


Time spent meeting with parents, tracking attendance and targeting support where necessary 50% of attendance officers time



Senior Leadership Time


Time spent monitoring and tracking data, software to support monitoring, time spent arranging interventions



Inclusion Strategies


Strategies are used to support students with challenging behaviour and this includes SLT time, inclusion unit time and use of an alternative provision




Enriched Curriculum


External music tutors employed and sporting activities and  some trips subsidised



Revision classes and support in class


Additional time spent and resources pre exam time








Total of interventions



Houghton Regis Academy


Pupil Premium Expenditure


Academic Year 2017/18


Total Income expected






Other Costs


Reading Interventions


including an enhanced library service, librarian time spent choosing appropriate books



Attendance Interventions


Time spent meeting with parents, tracking attendance and targeting support where necessary 53.9% of attendance officer time



Senior Leadership Time


Time spent monitoring and tracking data, arranging interventions



Inclusion Strategies


Strategies are used to support students with challenging behaviour and this includes SLT time, SENCO co-ordinator time and inclusion unit time



Enriched Curriculum


External music tutors employed, sporting activities  and some trips subsidised



Revision classes and support in class


Additional time spent and resources pre exam time







Total of interventions






Year 7 Catch Up Funding 2017/18

For the 2017/18 academic year we received £16,667

Of the pupils joining the Academy in September 2016, 59% were below the national age related expectations in English or Maths.

These funds will be used in a variety of ways to provide additional support and intervention for catch up students to ensure they progress and achieve their full academic potential.

Intentions for 2017/2018 academic year:

  • Introduction of Switch-on Reading, including training, resources and curriculum time
  • Regular assessment and intervention
  • Curriculum resources
  • Specific accelerated reader programme
  • Teaching Assistant time spent supporting pupils in Year 7 English and Maths classes


Year 7 Catch-Up Funding 2016/17

In 2016/17 the Academy received £19,792

This was spent on:

  • Increased library resources
  • Specific accelerated reader programme
  • Teaching Assistant time spent in Year 7 Maths and English classes

Impact on educational attainment of the students in Year 7 requiring catch up funding:

Of the pupils joining the Academy in September 2015, 57% were below the national age related expectations in English or Maths.

Following intervention, the Year 7 pupils ended the year with the majority at their age related expectations:


% ARE July 2016 (Y7)