Spending the Pupil Premium: Ofsted Report on Good Practice – 15 Key Questions

11th February 2013

Here are the top 15 questions I think teachers, leaders and governors should be asking themselves.

A few words of caution:

  • These are the points which strike me most, it’s not the whole of what they’ve said so check the full report.
  • Ofsted’s report is mainly made up of case studies. Because a school is using the premium in a particular way doesn’t mean it will work well in every setting or that there is strong evidence for that approach.

15 Questions

  1. Have you focused sufficiently on literacy and numeracy interventions?
2. When do you first spot issues? Try to spot them early! If you are a Primary- tackle literacy issues at KS1. It will be easier and more effective than catching up later. If you are a Secondary work with primary feeders to identify pupils who might benefit from summer schools, nurture groups etc.
3. Can you target your best teachers at your most disadvantaged pupils?
4. Have you applied for top-up summer school funding?
5. Have you made sure everyone knows what’s going on? Teachers should know who is Pupil Premium eligible and parental buy in is crucial for many interventions (see also our JRF report to find out how to do this.
6. Where will pupils do their homework and independent study? If they live in chaotic homes then ensuring they have a quiet space with support will help. Involve parents in making sure pupils use it!
7. What happens after you look at the data? When you use data to plan interventions, remember that data only *starts* the conversation and points to questions- work out what the issues are for individual pupils/groups of pupils and tailor interventions to them.
8. Do you have gaps between exclusion and attendance rates for FSM/non-FSM pupils? (this information is in your RaiseOnline.) Don’t just look at attainment gaps!
9. Do you have a senior leader responsible for allocation of Pupil Premium funding and evaluation of it? You might want to have a governor ‘shadowing’ this responsibility or one of your sub-committees responsible for monitoring.
10. Do you include discussions about pupil eligible for premium in performance management discussions?
11. Are higher (and lower) attaining pupils making as much progress as non FSM? The pupil premium is not just there to get pupils up to age related minimum expectations.
12. What are you using as a benchmark when you compare your performance to other schools? Don’t just compare FSM pupils to other FSM pupils and look beyond LA figures to national standards.
13. How do you evaluate pastoral interventions? You can use pupil premium funding for pastoral interventions but be as rigorous in evaluating these as academic ones and explain how the effects of pastoral work will impact on achievement.
14. How long will an intervention last? They should generally be time limited not open ended.
15. When do you review your interventions? Don’t wait til the end of the year, the end of the intervention or final attainment data. Track, review and improve your provision as you go along.
  • Ofsted have also produced this useful tool for analysing how the premium is working/might work in your school
  • The Pupil Premium Toolkit is also a fantastic resource (but use with caution- different strategies will suit different settings- don’t just pick the biggest effect sizes and run with them!)


For a bit more info here is a Storify of our tweets about the report: