“Caring and Achieving Excellence in a Christian Community”
Disadvantaged Pupils: strategic principles:
Whilst elements of our strategy will change from year to year, the broad principles behind the strategy focus on seven aspects. The Educational Endowment Fund (EEF) toolkit suggests that all such strategies have high impact on pupil learning. This document is not intended to reference the detail behind this EEF evidence. More information can be found: HERE and HERE
- Ensuring that teaching & learning is the highest quality: It is imperative that disadvantaged pupils have access to the best teaching. All teachers have the authority and ability to adapt their pedagogy in support of individual pupils. Marking work in such a way that feedback is timely and challenges pupils to think is an example of ensuring this quality. Micro strategies such as ensuring pupils can see the interactive white board or that pupils are equipped for lessons are critically essential in helping children to learn.
- Ensuring that the curriculum is right for all pupils: A school should provide a broad and balanced curriculum which is also exciting and relevant. We want our disadvantaged pupils to have access to courses which are relevant to their ability and aptitudes. In KS3, we want our pupils to develop skills. For a minority, as a precursor, it will be necessary to ensure that literacy and numeracy skills are developed to assist them in accessing the broader curriculum. For most, our aim is to lay the foundations of learning including the ability to become self-sufficient. We believe that pupils should have access to different routes of learning. Disadvantaged pupils are not pre-destined to study a specific set of subjects to examination level. Some will choose subjects seen as ‘academic’, some will choose subjects that are a mix of ‘academic’ and ‘creative’ and others will choose practical routes which may include vocational learning.
- Ensuring that disadvantaged pupils have access to the best career education advice: Our aim is to inspire disadvantaged pupils so that they are in education, training, or employment when they leave school. All pupils possess different aspirations but sometimes, disadvantaged pupils do not perceive their own potential and are limited by other factors beyond school. We see our responsibility as stimulating the desire to take study routes appropriate to each’s ability and aptitude.
- Ensuring that disadvantaged pupils maintain high rates of attendance and punctuality: There are three reasons for this. The first is that children will only make progress in their learning if they are in school. The second is that being in school supports the overall safeguarding agenda relevant to all pupils. The third is that healthy attendance and punctuality helps young people develop life skills which will impact on attitudes to work in the future.
- Ensuring that rates of exclusion for disadvantaged pupils are the same as the low rates for other pupils: Evidence shows that the opposite happens. This further disadvantages the disadvantaged and tends to place vulnerable pupils at greater risk. It is possible to create systems for all pupils which are fair and reduce the need to exclude from school. As for attendance, the aim is to keep pupils in classrooms so that progress is maintained, and children are not placed at risk.
- Ensuring that we develop a better dialogue and engagement with parents and carers of disadvantaged pupils: For many disadvantaged pupils, there are more barriers to parental engagement than for other pupils. Put simply, it can be harder for some families to physically visit school because of hardship and other reasons. We will develop strategies to help overcome these barriers.
- Ensuring that disadvantaged pupils experience a nurturing, caring and supportive Catholic ethos: We know that hierarchically, children develop when physiological, safety, belonging and self-esteem needs are met. These are our aims for all pupils but the challenges and barriers for disadvantaged pupils are usually greater.
This PDF gives more information about what schools can do to improve outcomes for disadvantaged pupils.