Educational support staff have vital roles in closing the gap for Pupil Premium students. Mentoring, Safeguarding and Behaviour specialists are all employed to deal with issues within students’ lives, and, in the same way, the Academy provides support from an Attendance Officer, the Local Authority and Part Time Agencies.
The Academy created a purpose-built supportive environment (Learning Base and Nurture Base) to aid young people who are falling behind on their studies due to behavioural and
emotional barriers. Pupil Premium funding supported the salaries of an Alternative Provision Coordinator and Nurture Base Leader who both worked in the Learning Base.
The Learning Base also served as an on-site, Alternative Provision for Key Stage 4 students who found it difficult to access mainstream education for a variety of reasons. Here in a safe and secure environment, students were assessed, took part in workshops and were given small group provision with a structured plan. In some cases, this lead to a more confident return into mainstream lessons within the Academy, in others, the students developed social skills and continued to access their education and achieve GCSE results within the Learning Base environment. We believe that until students are safely cared for and feel secure there will be restrictions to their academic progress.
The Alternative Provision Coordinator also functioned as a Family Liaison Worker who worked to engage with hard to reach families and provided advice so they could access the support they needed.
From a safeguarding perspective to help solve students’ complex needs the Academy has created a new DSL post with the BMS and Safeguarding team that is part funded by Pupil Premium to focus on Pupil Premium students.
Here are examples of agencies that our non-teaching staff who work closely with Pupil Premium engaged with during 2016-17:
- Spurgeons (Young Carers Dudley)
- Youth Workers
- Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Providers
- PREVENT team
- Early Help
- Children’s Services – Educational Psychologist
- Alternative Education providers, Black Country Wheels, Holly Hall, Nova
- Cherry Tree educational provision, to support the education of Pupil Premium students with medical needs
Other examples of initiatives that supported students in welfare and safety include the appointment of an Attendance Officer who monitors attendance and punctuality of students at several points during the day. The attendance of vulnerable Pupil Premium students is closely tracked. Heads of Year use it to monitor these students and intervene accordingly, in line with our attendance policy. A School Counsellor was funded for part of the year who supported Pupil Premium students with social, emotional and mental health issues.
Several of these initiatives have continued into 2017-18 although some were deemed to have little impact on Pupil Premium student progress for the investment so have been modified.