At Villiers High School, 83% of pupils are EAL, 14% SEN and around 30% of pupils in Year 7 did not achieved the expected standards in KS2 National Curriculum assessments. We believe that what happens in the classroom makes the biggest difference; improving teaching quality leads to greatest improvements at lower cost than structural changes. Therefore, we focus our energies on deploying high quality staff and some of our budget in providing high quality professional development for staff particularly developing teaching and learning strategies that would raise the standards of learning and progress in the classroom. We also focus a great deal on staff retention so that there is continuity of relationships and learning.
The Pupil Premium has played a key role in improving our provision for disadvantaged pupils. It has helped to fund a number of projects including alternative curriculum groups, enrichment opportunities, specialist support, extra-curricular clubs, free breakfast every morning, holiday classes and Saturday schools. The Pupil Premium has also enabled the school to address the issue of language acquisition and consolidation, continuing and expanding its programme of one-to-one and small group interventions. Discussion in small groups has enabled EAL children to improve their speaking and reading skills.
A key need identified within the student body is for cultural enrichment. Many of the pupils will have no experience of visiting farms, museums in London or other activities that many may take for granted. So an important use of the Pupil Premium, as well as money from the general school budget, is to provide funding for educational trips and visits. These visits serve to broaden pupils' horizons and expose them to opportunities they would not otherwise experience. It is difficult to measure the positive impact of these visits, but even within the confines of the examination system, a question on an English Language paper asking pupils to write a letter detailing a visit on the Tube or to a farm could prove difficult without exposure to the kinds of experiences educational trips can provide. In organising educational trips and visits the school is not just targeting those eligible for Pupil Premium funding, but instead providing opportunities for the whole pupil body. This addresses the issue of socially deprived families who are just above the threshold for receiving Free School Meals, and therefore Pupil Premium funding, but who still require support. Providing opportunities for all, also captures those pupils who may be eligible for Free School Meals but whose parents do not wish to apply, which can be an issue with some communities.
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