Exchanging Excellence® is Herts for Learning’s (HfL’s) framework for sharing best professional practice. It is the umbrella programme for all of the work they are doing and plan to do in the future, to find and share best practice and professional learning with our customers on a range of current and relevant topics.
The programme was launched in January 2014 with a cross phase project “Closing Gaps”, designed to find practice that is having most impact in improving outcomes for pupils eligible for pupil premium; whilst ensuring that other groups continue to be stretched and achieve at least expected progress.
The research findings from the first phase of this project were shared as a ‘Synthesis of Best Practice’ at our hugely successful ‘Closing Gaps’ conference on Monday 7th July 2014. The report ‘Pupil Premium in Hertfordshire: Use and Impact’ highlights the main research findings and recommendations; the report’s Introduction is shown here:
The Pupil Premium was introduced in 2011, providing additional funding to help schools improve the learning of disadvantaged pupils, reduce the attainment gap and in doing so, reduce educational inequality. The funding is allocated per pupil, and initially covered children looked after, the children of service personnel and any children who were eligible for free school meals at any point in the past 6 years (the Ever6 measure) and children who have left the care system through adoption, residence orders or special guardianship orders, collectively referred to as ‘Post LAC’ (Looked After Children).
Nationally, the headline statistics that illustrate the achievement gap between children eligible for FSM and children looked after are now well rehearsed and rightly are the continued subject of much scrutiny and action.
In England early achievers from disadvantaged backgrounds are overtaken by their wealthier peers by age 7, the likelihood of a pupil eligible for FSM achieving five or more GCSEs at A*-C including English and mathematics is less than one third of a non-FSM pupil, and a pupil from a non-deprived background is more than twice as likely to go on to study at university as their peers from deprived backgrounds.
Despite the efforts of schools and successive governments, the attainment gap remains a stubborn and entrenched feature of our education system. In 2013, at a national level,
63% of disadvantaged children achieved level 4 or better in reading, writing and mathematics compared to 81% of their peers at the end of key stage 2 (KS2). The gap remains in secondary education, with the three year average showing that 38.7% of disadvantaged pupils achieved 5+ A*-C GCSEs (or equivalent) including English and mathematics at GCSE, compared to 66.3% of their peers
In 2014/15, the Pupil Premium will increase to £1,300 per FSM Ever6 primary pupil, £935 per FSM Ever6 secondary pupil and £1,900 for children looked after and Post LAC.
This research project has been jointly commissioned by Herts for Learning (HfL) and Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) as a key initiative in addressing priorities within the Hertfordshire School Improvement Strategy.
This report seeks to: identify impactful practice in the use of the Pupil Premium grant within Hertfordshire and beyond; explore perceptions around the barriers schools face in closing the gap between disadvantaged pupils (henceforth Pupil Premium pupils) and their peers and to make some recommendations on the basis of this research.
HfL is a School Company with 509 Hertfordshire shareholding schools. It has developed a framework for sharing best professional practice – Exchanging Excellence®. The findings from this Closing Gaps project will be shared widely as part of that programme.
We would like to express our appreciation for the warm, open and professional dialogue in which colleagues have engaged with us during this research. We have been particularly impressed by the importance schools in Hertfordshire attach to the Pupil Premium and their desire to learn from others to improve practice.
Supported by a suite of case studies the full report can be viewed at the HfL website: http://www.hertsforlearning.co.uk/content/exchanging-excellence.