Award winners share strategies for success

Published

The Pupil Premium Awards recognise schools that have made significant progress in raising the attainment of disadvantaged learners.

One of the winners in 2015 in the Key Stage 4 category was Dinnington High School, where initially CoPE‚Äč was used as the primary qualification to engage learners who had the potential to underachieve. This was successful and pupils secured an increasing number of qualification passes, which in turn led to a dramatic decline in the number of pupils who went on to become NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training). Wider Key Skills then became part of a broader curriculum package, balancing academic and vocational.

The number of pupils achieving at least one A*-G GCSE (or equivalent) reached 100 per cent, those achieving five A*-G grades increased to 98 per cent and eight A*-G to 87 per cent. Pupils take up employment and education opportunities that allow them to make use of the skills they have developed through ASDAN qualifications. Significantly, training providers and employers have said that these skills have been major factors in pupils being selected above others for their programmes.

In the employment sector Working With Others, Improving Own Learning and Performance and Problem Solving have been of particular interest. The education sector is pleased with the impact that Research, Oral Presentation and Discussion have on preparing young people with skills that will benefit their study. 

Balcarras School in Cheltenham also received the £5,000 Pupil Premium prize. Key Steps is used at Key Stage 3, followed by the Personal Development Programmes in place of a GCSE option for certain targeted pupils. This scheme has helped pupils’ self-esteem by giving them the option of a practical course in which they can achieve. The school’s ASDAN co-ordinator, Louise Young, said it had been excellent preparation for life after school, such as for interviews or work experience.

She said: “With life skills at the heart of the course, pupils have enjoyed the opportunity of relating what they do at school to the real world. We have done many activities that some pupils may not have had the opportunity to do at home, such as baking, visits to a wildlife park and a cinema trip.”