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Pupil Premium

What is the Pupil Premium?

The Government believes that the Pupil Premium Grant, which is additional to main school funding, is the best way to address the current underlying inequalities between children eligible for free school meals (FSM) and their peers by ensuring that funding to tackle disadvantage reaches the pupils who need it most.

The Pupil Premium Grant was introduced in April 2011 and as of 2012 is allocated to schools to work with pupils who have been registered for free school meals at any point in the last six years. This funding has since been extended to also include support for students who are Children Looked After (CLA) and also students adopted from care. These students, together with those who have received free school meals in the last 6 years, are collectively referred to as ‘disadvantaged students’.

Pupil Premium at Hitchin Girls’ School

For the academic year 2013/14, 8.2 % of our cohort were eligible for the Pupil Premium; this is compared to the National average of 28.2%. There was an increase to the funding allocated to Pupil Premium students and we received £87750.

For the academic year 2014/15, 9.8% of our cohort were eligible for the Pupil Premium. There was an increase in the amount of funding made available by the Government for Pupil Premium in 2014/15 and as a result we were allocated £95570.

For the academic year 2015/16, 15.0% of the  cohort were eligible for the Pupil Premium. Funding arrangements remained the same during this academic year and we received £102655.

For this academic year, 2016/17, 15.6% of our cohort are eligible for Pupil Premium. Again, there has been no change to the funding formula nationally and so we expect to receive funds in the region of £115000.

How is the additional funding used?

When the school was initially in receipt of this funding, in 2011/12, the allocation was used primarily to contribute to the staffing costs of an additional Learning Support Assistant (LSA). Chiefly, this allowed the school to provide additional support in lessons for FSM and Children Looked After (CLA) students, and other vulnerable students in danger of underachieving, across both KS3 and KS4.

Since then, in addition to contributing to the staffing costs of an LSA, we used our additional Pupil Premium funding to provide a variety of intervention strategies to support targeted FSM and CLA students. Literacy and numeracy development was at the heart of our strategy for the effective deployment of the Pupil Premium funding.

Students have had the opportunity to benefit from our provision of additional interventions/opportunities such as:


  • One to one tuition in English and Maths
  • Learning & Pastoral mentors
  • EAL (English as an Additional Language) support
  • LSA support
  • Counselling
  • Access to attendance support
  • Providing revision resources
  • Holiday revision sessions
  • Literacy and Numeracy initiatives
  • Curriculum enrichment activities
  • Specific learning resources for individuals
  • Greater out of lesson access to ICT facilities

For 2016/17 we will use our additional Pupil Premium funding to continue to provide these intervention strategies to disadvantaged students and develop further opportunities to enhance provision, not just in terms of literacy and numeracy but across the wider curriculum.

During 2014/15, in addition to continuing to provide these interventions and opportunities, we developed a mechanism for parents to be involved with helping us make decisions on how we spend the funding to target specific support for each eligible student. This proved to be successful in providing a variety of resources and opportunities for the Pupil Premium cohort and we therefore chose to continue with this initiative for 2015/16 with the aim of encouraging greater engagement with this process. This proved to be a success with engagement with this initiative increasing four-fold. We are committed to continuing with this initiative for the coming academic year. As our range of intervention and support for the Pupil Premium cohort has widened we have created a leadership position in the school to ensure the funding is used as effectively as possible.

It is our aim that through the combination of targeted interventions, holistic Teaching and Learning initiatives/provision and parent/carer identified support we can ensure that Hitchin Girls’ School makes the very best use of the Pupil Premium funding to advance, enrich and support the learning of all of our ‘disadvantaged’ students. Our strategic plan for the use of the Pupil Premium Grant is available here.

How well do disadvantaged students achieve at Hitchin Girls School?

Due to the changes in performance measures published in 2016 we have shown the historical data to provide a more complete view of the performance of our Pupil Premium cohort over time. Direct comparisons between old and new measures are not possible and so current performance is detailed separately in the section: ‘Performance 2016 – impact of initiatives’.

Performance in 2015

(Figures in brackets represent the number of students eligible for Pupil Premium funding, * these figures are from Raise on-line unvalidated report)

Sections highlighted in green indicate an improvement since 2014/15

Clearly, there is a gap in performance between the disadvantaged students and the non-disadvantaged students in our school, however, these gaps are closing and are smaller than the gaps seen nationally. Moreover, the performance of disadvantaged students in our school is close to the levels of performance of non-disadvantaged students nationally. In fact, in the case of the measures 5 or more A*- C inc. English & Maths, 5 or more A*- G, and A*- C in Maths the performance is above national levels for non-disadvantaged students

Performance Over Time (As reported in 2015)

When reviewing performance data it is important that we benchmark the progress of disadvantaged students against the national results for non-disadvantaged students to ensure that standards and expectations are aspirational. Here we see our disadvantaged students achieving results better than non-disadvantaged students nationally with regards to expected progress in English and the percentage achieving 5A*- C inc Eng and Maths. Furthermore, we can see a pattern of the gaps narrowing between the performance of disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students in the data shown above. However, it is important to note that with the cohort of disadvantaged students being relatively small then this data can be skewed by small changes in performance. 

Performance in 2016 - Impact of Initiatives

In terms of Progress 8 we can see that our ‘disadvantaged’ students do better than ‘all’ students nationally overall and also when we consider each of the 3 prior attainment bands.

Our ‘disadvantaged’ students also outperform ‘non-disadvantaged’ students nationally.

In terms of Attainment 8 a similar picture to the P8 performance is also evident with our ‘disadvantaged’ students do better than ‘all’ students nationally overall and also when we consider each of the 3 prior attainment bands.  Our disadvantaged students perform better than their non-disadvantaged national counterparts in each of the attainment bands but not when the cohort is considered as a whole.

Looking more closely at the Progress 8 measure:

We can see that our ‘disadvantaged’ cohort performs better than all students nationally for all elements except in Maths, though this negative result is not statistically significant and so can be considered as broadly in-line with national performance (as is demonstrated in the maths element table below).

Our aim is to ensure that our ‘disadvantaged’ cohort performs at least as well as the national figures for ‘non-disadvantaged’ students, both in terms of progress and attainment. The tables above indicate that this is currently the case for the English element of P8 (Low & Middle cohorts) and A8 (Low , Middle and Overall); for the Mathematics element of P8(High cohort) and A8 (High cohort); for the Ebacc element of P8 (Low, Middle & High cohorts) and A8 (Low, Middle & High cohorts); and for the Open element of P8 ( Low cohort) and A8 ( Low and Middle cohorts).

Looking at the basics and the Ebacc:

56% of our ‘disadvantaged’ students achieved grade C or above in both English and Maths which is 6% lower than the figure for all students nationally and 13% lower than the ‘non-disadvantaged’ cohort nationally. A key element of our strategy for this academic year is to develop revision and study skills across the curriculum. As well as opportunities for 1-1 tuition, revision seminars and access to a range of support materials we are planning a residential trip aimed at preparing our ‘disadvantaged’ students for their final exams with a specific focus on Maths and English. 

We continue to use termly data captures to monitor both attainment and progress of all students to ensure that our interventions can be tailored to respond to where the need is evident.


The gap between FSM and whole school absences has widened slightly this year this year: from a 3.4% difference ( in 2014) to a 2.7 % difference (in 2015) and now to a difference of 3.2%  in 2016. Also the gap between FSM and non-FSM attendance has fluctuated similarly; the gap was 3.8% in 2014, 3.1% in 2015 and is now 3.7% in 2016. The national gap between FSM and non-FSM is 3.1%, hence, attendance continues to be an area which we are monitoring closely and investing in intervention and support as appropriate.