Aim: To reduce the gap in attainment and progress between disadvantaged students and all other students.

Background: CNCS has a 12-form entry and is the 5th largest school in the UK. 18% of pupils are considered disadvantaged students, and sometimes the levels of literacy, numeracy, engagement and aspiration of these students are low compared to their non-disadvantaged peers. RAISEonline and other data indicated a significant gap in attainment and progress for these students, especially Higher Attaining Pupil Premium (HAPP), compared with all other students.


Year 1: Action research was undertaken into quality teaching and disadvantaged children’s attainment and rates of progress, together with general reading around aspirations and social mobility through engagement with projects such as Widening Participation at the University of Sussex and the Sutton Trust. This was supported by more detailed and rigorous interrogation of pupil attainment and progress data using new online tools such as 4-Matrix. This became a key focus of SLT, with a new Assistant Headteacher (Data) and realignment of Deputy Headteacher responsibilities. Work was undertaken with subject and curriculum leaders to analyse departmental data. Areas of strength and best practice were identified. Subject leaders, evaluated individual teachers’ class performance and supported and challenged areas of underachievement. Often third and fourth sets had the greatest gaps in attainment.

Year 2: Subject leaders worked with their teams to ensure schemes of work, assessments and opportunities within the new curricula were well planned, well delivered and aspirational. Teachers prioritised disadvantaged students using “Class at A Glance” sheets and assessed and tracked their attainment and progress carefully, in order to make necessary early interventions. Sixth Form students were used to mentor disadvantaged students in Year 11, and form tutors were becoming more intervention focused. External support from the University of Sussex Widening Participation Scheme and “IntoUniversity” work for disadvantaged students was tapped into by Years 10-11, as well as Years 12-13.

Year 3: The focus was on further supporting pastoral structures to ensure that SEND and disadvantaged students were attending school, that their pastoral needs were being addressed as well as their academic progress. Action Research projects were developed for staff through the NPQSL and NPQML CPD programmes as well as Challenge Partners’ “Challenge the Gap” project.

Evidence: Exam results, RAISEonline data.

Impact: The gap between GCSE results for disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students fell from 28% in 2014 and 32% in 2015 to 18% in 2016. RAISEonline data showed that the disadvantaged High Prior Attaining students had the widest gap, which was caused by four students. Progress and attainment in English for disadvantaged students was particularly strong.

Reflections: Disadvantage and the causes of it are stubbornly difficult to ‘crack’ in a city where disparities are wide and the numbers of students are quite large. Brighton and Hove have extremely wide national disparities and a high degree of social deprivation.

Contact: Dr James Kilmartin, Headteacher,