Press release

Special school finalists in 2015 Pupil Premium Awards announced

Schools Minister David Laws announces finalists in the special schools and alternative provision category for the 2015 awards.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Teacher talking to student

Five schools have today (8 December 2014) been named by Schools Minister David Laws as national finalists in the special schools and alternative provision category for the 2015 Pupil Premium Awards, in recognition of their achievements in helping disadvantaged pupils succeed.

All finalists will win at least £50,000, with the winning school to be awarded a total prize of £100,000 at a ceremony hosted by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in March next year.

The Pupil Premium Awards reward schools who are able to provide evidence of effective strategies to improve the achievement of disadvantaged pupils and show sustained improvement in raising their attainment.

Five special schools and alternative provision finalists were announced today in recognition of their effective use of the pupil premium in raising the attainment of disadvantaged pupils and improving their outcomes. The pupil premium is extra funding schools receive for every disadvantaged pupil they teach and is now worth a total of more than £2.5 billion per year.

The 5 finalists in the special schools and alternative provision category are:

  • Queensmill School, Shepherd’s Bush, London
  • Belmont Special School, Cheltenham
  • CE Academy, Northampton
  • The Bridge AP Academy, Hammersmith and Fulham, London
  • Oakfield High School, Wigan

During a visit today to Park Junior School in Shirebrook, which won the primary school category in the 2014 Pupil Premium Awards, Schools Minister David Laws congratulated the finalists and reinforced the important progress the pupil premium is making in closing the gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers.

Schools Minister David Laws said:

The pupil premium is building a fairer society with opportunity for everyone. These schools demonstrate just what can be done with the pupil premium to enable every child to fulfil their potential, no matter what their background.

These schools and their staff should rightly be proud of this achievement and I wish them the best of luck for the awards ceremony next year.

I would encourage other special schools and alternative provision to learn from this excellent practice and ensure they are using their pupil premium effectively, so that they too may be in the running for a prize in 2016.

Pupil Premium Champion Sir John Dunford said:

I congratulate all the finalists on what they are doing for disadvantaged young people. The standard of this year’s entries was higher than ever and the outstanding practice we have seen has been an inspiration and an example of what can be achieved by special schools and in alternative provision.

The inspirational leadership of these schools, allied to rigorous use of the evidence of what works, has enabled these schools to offer a wide range of opportunities for disadvantaged young people to raise their aspirations and achieve more than their peers.

Dr Hilary Emery, former Chief Executive of the National Children’s Bureau and one of the judges in this year’s Pupil Premium Awards, said:

It has been inspiring to see how these schools have used research and evidence to tackle the barriers facing their disadvantaed children and young people. Through a combination of outstanding teaching, targeted support and systematic monitoring and evaluation these children are gaining in confidence and self-esteem, alongside achieving as well as, and sometimes better than, their peers.

The quality of practice and professional approach to tackling disadvantage shows how much special schools and alternative provision have to share with the profession as a whole.

Sir William Atkinson, former Executive Headteacher of Phoenix Canberra Schools Federation and fellow judge, said:

The overall standard of entry was very high this year. Many of the applications demonstrated a real passion and commitment to improving the achievement and well-being of their pupil premium students by deploying a combination of tried and tested methods alongside innovative interventions often underpinned by research.

Schools across England that are doing the most to help disadvantaged pupils improve their achievements in school may be eligible to win a share of £4 million as part of the 2015 Pupil Premium Awards. Thousands of pupils in up to 500 schools could benefit from the awards, which recognise schools which are using their pupil premium in innovative and effective ways.

A further £4 million prize money will also be awarded in the 2016 awards, and schools are being encouraged to act now to review what they are doing in their school and ensure they are using the pupil premium effectively - using tools such as the evidence-based Education Endowment Foundation toolkit or by undertaking a pupil premium review.

Notes to editors

  1. Schools can read more about the 2015 Pupil Premium Awards, including eligibility criteria and further details on how to apply.
  2. Schools without assessment data, including special and infant schools, applied for the regional and national awards by submitting comprehensive evidence on how they have improved the performance of their disadvantaged pupils and have used their pupil premium funding in innovative ways.
  3. Eligible primary and secondary schools will be automatically entered for the qualifier awards and will hear if they have received a prize once the key stage 2 and key stage 4 results are published in December 2014 and January 2015 respectively. To go on to win larger regional and national prizes, those schools will be invited to submit further evidence on their use of the pupil premium.
  4. Schools are held accountable for how they spend their pupil premium funding through:
    • the attainment and progress of their eligible pupils
    • the comparison between the gap between their eligible and non-eligible pupils and the national gap in performance of these groups
    • requiring schools to publish details online of how they spend their funding and its effects each year
    • the Ofsted inspection framework
  5. The 2015 special school and alternative provision awards have been judged by a panel of independent experts:
    • Sir John Dunford - National Pupil Premium Champion
    • Dr Hilary Emery - former Chief Executive of the National Children’s Bureau
    • Sir William Atkinson - former Executive Headteacher, Phoenix Canberra Schools Federation

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Published 8 December 2014