Disadvantaged Students

As part of our Mission Statement at St Bernard’s Catholic High School, we recognise the importance of ensuring that all students, whatever their background or circumstance, are provided with a quality and relevant education. This will ensure that all students are equipped with the knowledge and skills they will need to succeed in life beyond School.

Disadvantaged Student funding was introduced to further support students who the government have deemed to be Disadvantaged. £935 per student is allocated to students from low income families who are registered for Free School Meals (FSM), or have been at any point in the last six years, together with students who have previously been in care (post-Looked After Children). In addition to this, students from Service Families are allocated £300 per student.

In 2017 to 2018 the DfE allocated funding to schools on the basis that they receive the same overall amount of year 7 catch-up premium funding they received in 2016 to 2017, adjusted to reflect the percentage change in the size of their year 7 cohort between the October 2016 and the October 2017. We utilise this funding to support our students in achieving this standard quickly in order to close their gaps and ensure that they access the curriculum in line with their peers.

Funding Breakdown

Student Premium Grant 2017-18
Amount recieved per student £935
Total amount received £154, 275.00

Year 7 Catch-Up Premium Grant 2017-18
Amount recieved per student £500
Total amount received £3, 105.00

Total amount of funding received £157, 380.00

Closing the Gap Strategy 2017-2019

Introduction and Purpose

This strategy sets out the SBCH approach to Closing the Gap and student intervention. It also outlines how the school plans to utilise the Disadvantaged funding and Catch-Up funding to effectively raise standards of progress and outcomes for all students.

Whole school Closing the Gap Strategies include:

WAVE 1 Quality First Teaching. Teaching and Learning strategies to ensure all students get the best possible provision, every lesson. Lead staff share methods and promote high expectations and stretch and challenge for all students.
WAVE 2 Student underperformance, absence and/or increased behaviour incidents are identified through our whole school tracking and analysis programmes. Student underachievement is targeted by a team of staff including teaching staff, Curriculum Leaders, Heads of House and Progress Leaders.
WAVE 3 Outside agencies and Local Authority specialist support is brokered for students where necessary informally and through assessment channels. Families/Carers play an important role in supporting students to engage in the interventions offered.
Staff CPD. Inclusion Champions and Teaching and Learning Champions support staff to meet the needs of all students through training and sharing best practice.
Currently 23% of our students are supported by Pupil Premium funding.

Aims and Objectives

  • To embed ‘Closing the Gap’ across the whole school, using a range of resources and strategies.
  • To improve knowledge and understanding of Closing the Gap strategies and interventions of staff and to share good practice through Inclusion and Teaching and Learning Champions.
  • To increase achievement of Disadvantaged Students so that it is in line with their Non-Disadvantaged peers in school and nationally.
  • To improve the life chances and choices of all students through improved attendance and raising aspiration.

Success Criteria:

  • Progress gaps narrow for all identified target groups/individuals.
  • Attendance gaps between Disadvantaged and Non-Disadvantaged Students narrow and Disadvantaged student attendance is closer to National.
  • All year group cohorts have a positive Progress 8 score.
  • Progress gaps in English and Maths narrow rapidly across school and for Disadvantaged Students in particular.

Key Areas for Development

When joining the school, a greater amount of our students join with lower literacy skills than numeracy skills. This, combined with a focus on language rich terminal examinations and a projected increase in EAL cohorts over the coming five years, raises the need to ensure that literacy gaps are closed in order for students to access the curriculum across the board.

Engagement, aspiration and independence of Most Able Disadvantaged students

Quality First Teaching and Learning is at the heart of our Closing the Gap Strategy. We heavily focus on the investment in and development of extremely high quality staff in order to ensure that students get the best provision possible, every day of the week.
This includes stretching our Higher Able (HA) students to their maximum. As part of our Disadvantaged First model, we therefore focus on our sub group of HA Disadvantaged students. The More Able Co-ordinator will work with staff across school to support HA students who have a negative progress 8 score; to ensure opportunities for stretch and challenge occur consistently in the classroom and outside of curriculum time; to ensure support is available in terms of access to resources and to promote resilience, independence and engagement in the learning process. In this respect our Closing the Gap Strategy works alongside our More Able Strategy.

Closing gaps in outcomes for student groups and individuals, particularly in Mathematics.

Analysis of data shows that there are still gaps between Disadvantaged and Non-Disadvantaged Student outcomes in English and Maths. Outside Wave 1 and 2 strategies to counteract these gaps, is a Wave 3 strategy to monitor closely the tracking of students not achieving positive P8 scores or the 4/5 boundary points. Appropriate and effective intervention on a whole school level (Wave 3) will be applied for these students to ensure that gaps in achievement close for the Disadvantaged Students.

Primary Trained Inclusion Teacher

On entry to the school, we have a number of students who are not working at age related expectations and within this cohort are a number of Disadvantaged Students. Our SENCo, as part of the Inclusion Team (and as a previously Primary Trained Teacher) delivers additonality to their curriculum in the key areas of literacy and numeracy to firstly close their gaps in achievement in these areas and secondly to ensure that the resilience and independence of these students increases in order to better access the curriculum leading into Key Stage 4. This member of staff delivers to very small bespoke groups and where necessary 1-1, in order to address vulnerabilities and confidence.

Increasing Literacy levels to support examination access

We have a focus on Literacy across the school as well as increasing the reading ages of any students who are below chronological age, particularly in KS3 in order to better access Key Stage 4. Literacy testing with Year 7-9 will help us to identify and address literacy needs across the curriculum for groups and individuals. We aim to ensure students have the literacy levels required to access exam papers, texts and life throughout and beyond school.

Raising Post 16 Aspirations

Low aspirations can often be a barrier to some of our Disadvantaged students which in turn can affect their motivation and desire to achieve. We are working predominantly in KS3 to ensure that students are encouraged to have dreams and work towards goals. We ensure that Disadvantaged students have access to Careers support and advice as well as our University projects and Post 16 opportunities. Our Enrichment Programme for 2017-2018 is being further developed into 2019 to ensure that Disadvantaged students have access to all courses on offer including those that require additional funding and are employer friendly, such as the Duke of Edinburgh.

Increasing Parental Liaison

Parental support has a profound effect on our students and we are working hard to ensure that all of our parental links, including those for Disadvantaged students are as productive as possible. Our shift to Academic Mentoring rather than traditional parents’ evenings has allowed each staff member to form a close and personal relationship with each of their mentees and their parents. The new structure also allows for students and parents to meet with their mentor four times a year, following each data track (increasing from once a year in the old system). This has increased parental attendance to such events and has increased parental awareness of their child’s progress and associated development needs.

Raising Attendance

Attendance across school is improving due to the establishment of the new Attendance Team and their leadership strategies. However, Disadvantaged students’ attendance is still a cause for concern. We want to ensure that attendance gaps between Disadvantaged and non-Disadvantaged students narrow and Disadvantaged attendance is at least closer to National. The Attendance Team, utilising the Heads of House, teaching staff, Form Tutors and our EWO have attendance support plans in place, prioritising Disadvantaged students first. Much of these plans are centred on the support of students’ mental health and addressing the SEMH agenda, again through the use of the Inclusion Team.
Closing the Gap – Staff Enquiries: Telephone 01709 828183 (Reception)

Cohort Lead Staff Email Contact
Disadvantaged Students Isabelle Shadwick
Vice Principal - Inclusion
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Attendance Kate Henderson
Associate Principal

Rachel Graham
Attendance Officer
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SEND Michelle Lockwood

Jane Hawke
Assistant SENCo
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More Able Chi Wan This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.