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Pupil Premium

Curriculum Equity

Presently or previously disadvantaged children do not lack ability or talent; they may have experienced less opportunity or support over time. We know that every interaction matters and strive to help children to accumulate advantage. No programme or intervention will work without positive relationships. 

We know that the 'presumption of language' is one of the biggest challenges we face. Underdeveloped oral language and limited vocabulary as well as comprehension can can lead to isolation in the classroom. On the other hand, language and comprehension facilitate independence, participation and contribute to belonging. In our school, we have a huge focus on language throughout the curriculum, using tiered vocabulary, phonics, reading and inference interventions. We are working to ensure that all children have the key knowledge they need at the beginning of the lesson and have routines and structures in place that make learning relevant and set children up for success. 

We know that disadvantaged learners benefit disproportionately from effective teaching. Central to our disadvantaged strategy is improving specific aspects of teaching, which will have the biggest impact on attainment: explicit instruction, scaffolding, retrieval practice, metacognition and self-regulation. Through CPD and instructional coaching, teachers are developing their practice in these areas, as well as developing structures and routines that enable all children to thrive.

Whilst we have specific, targeted interventions and parallel lessons for certain learners, we are also aware of the impact of over-intervention and plan and monitor these rigorously. 

Relationships are key

Research, such as that from PHE, tells us that 'Pupils with better health and wellbeing are likely to achieve better academically.' and 'Effective social and emotional competencies are associated with greater health and wellbeing, and better achievement.'  If children are safe, active, healthy, nurtured, included, responsible and achieving, they will develop brain systems resilient to stress. From our use of the Empowerment Approach, we know that if people feel better, they do better. 

Approximately once a week, PPG children spend quality time in a small group with their teacher, working on becoming ‘Empowerment Champions’ through developing their 5C needs (feeling connected, capable, comfortable, a sense of control and believing they count.’) The sessions aim to improve emotional resilience, develop positive relationships, increase 'life experiences' and improve readiness to learn. 

Some children are also part of Adventure Hub, which is a 10 week in-school programme intended to improve skills in concentration, teamwork, helping others, academic success, connection with nature and enjoyment of school.

All staff in our school work to build positive relationships with all children. We know that every interaction counts, and relationships are not only built during dedicated time.

With healthy relationships we can intentionally teach and support social skills, emotional wellbeing, resilience, confidence and self-esteem.

Attachment Teacher: We have an attachment specialist teacher who works with children who are adopted or in care.  She works with them on both their academic and pastoral needs.  She also liaises with parents and all other staff that are involved in the child’s care. Due to our high number of children who have been adopted or are in care, social, emotional and attachment issues play a key role in affecting progress with some of these children.  Our recognition as an ‘Attachment Aware School’ has highlighted how committed we are to ensuring these pupils not only succeed academically but socially and emotionally.

Key Adult: Children who are adopted or in care have all been allocated a key adult who meets them once a week to help develop their social/relationship skills.  The key adult is someone the child can go to if they need help during the school day. 

Extra curricular activities

We have found that some disadvantaged children can have significant different life experiences to their peers at Downs and we have tried to address this by offering free access to our clubs, music lessons and school holiday care.  Our successful ‘Poverty Proofing Report’, produced by Children North East, has highlighted the success of our efforts in including all children.  Research tells us that participation in an after school clubs develops social confidence, nurtures belonging and provides and empowers choice.   An NCTL research project on successful schools stated that extra-curricular activities have a positive impact on children both academically and socially.  

Adventure Club is an after school club based on outdoor activities and aimed at building confidence, resilience, communication and wellbeing. The children also work towards their John Muir Award. The john Muir Award is a national environmental Award scheme, which combines outdoor learning and natural connections with self-development.

Tiered Approach

tiered approach

Disadvantaged Faculty Group

We have set up a Disadvantaged task force consisting of a Disadvantaged champion per year group


  • Year 6 Emma Farrell 
  • Year 5 Amy Trevatt 
  • Year 4 Cora Kennedy 
  • Year 3 Felicity Thomas
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