Pupil Premium helps broaden horizons


James Brindley School delivers education across multiple sites in Birmingham, including three school teaching centres (Dovedale, Parkway and Northfield) and 10 hospital sites. The school caters for young people who don’t attend mainstream school; referrals are based on various health reasons, including mental health conditions and chronic illness. As well as these medical issues, there are also social factors at play, with many of the young people coming from deprived backgrounds.

The school uses ASDAN programmes to supplement and enrich their curriculum. Experiential learning is a key priority and they use ASDAN Short Courses and Personal Development Programmes to accredit this aspect of their provision. Assistant Headteacher Emma Byrne is passionate about the benefits of taking children off-site to broaden their horizons and develop their skills: “From exploring different places of worship for the Beliefs and Values Short Course to practising independent travel for the Bronze/Silver Personal Development Programme – it’s so important for our learners to have these experiences.”

To support this aim, the school channels a significant proportion of its Pupil Premium funding into staffing to facilitate ASDAN trips and visits. A high staff-to-student ratio is required to take young people out of school, so additional teaching assistants are vital. As Ms Byrne explains, “some of our young people have never even been into the city centre, despite living in Birmingham all their lives – they just wouldn’t get the chance to do this otherwise.”

James Brindley’s students take great pride in their ASDAN certificates. Some only attend the school for a short period and these outcomes provide evidence of their progression, as well as a tangible reward for their hard work. Ms Byrne also recognises the impact the ASDAN methodology has on students’ general skills development: “Many of the challenges we do for Bronze/Silver help the students with their functional Maths skills - their progress is clear”.

James Brindley School was shortlisted for the Pupil Premium Awards 2013, as judged by an independent panel of education experts in partnership with the Department for Education. www.pupilpremiumawards.co.uk