Our intention is to provide an exceptional educational experience for all students, regardless of their socio-economic background. We want all students to make excellent progress across the curriculum, underpinned by quality first teaching, strong pastoral care and support and targeted intervention where needed.
The focus of this strategy is to provide a research informed approach to tackling the barriers to learning that many disadvantaged students face and to help them achieve our intentions for all students. This strategy extends beyond the scope of students who are eligible for pupil premium funding and provides a comprehensive support framework for other students considered vulnerable, such as those who are on a Child in Need Plan, Child Protection Plan or have an Early Help Plan in place.
The overarching focus of this strategy is improving the quality of education. This is the single most powerful way to close the gap between disadvantaged students and their non-disadvantaged peers. We are using instructional coaching to provide a framework for the continuous improvement of all teachers regardless of their experience and years of service. Running parallel to this is a quality assurance system which has evaluation of the progress of disadvantaged students at its core.
Our curriculum has been redeveloped to provide students with the powerful knowledge they need to succeed in life. A focus on reading, vocabulary development and oracy ensure that all students, especially the disadvantaged students are equipped to access life’s conversations. We believe, ‘coupled with quality first teaching’, our curriculum will serve as the guarantor of equality, providing all students with the ‘best knowledge available’ and the cultural capital they need to gain access to transformational future opportunities.
However, the complexity of disadvantage, compounded by the pandemic, means that in addition to this, there is a need to provide a range of research-proven, targeted interventions to help close the gaps in knowledge, skills, social and emotional mental health, vocabulary and other key determinants of success. We have selected from EEF recommended strategies to best suit our school context. We also recognise that the impact of disadvantage varies greatly between cohorts and individuals so there is no one-size-fits all solution. We aim to provide an approach which supports a successful pathway for disadvantaged students at each stage of the secondary experience: a transition, during option choices, during GCSEs and transition to further study, apprenticeships, or employment.