Raising attainment and improving progress of Higher Attaining Pupil Premium students (HAPPS) across Key Stages 3-5

Aim: To raise staff awareness of the needs of the HAPPS group through CPD and to narrow both the attainment and progress gaps between those students and their non-disadvantaged Higher Attaining peers.

Background: The trend of data (2014-2017) showed that the gap remained evident and stubborn to close (in line with similar schools)


Year 1

Data for HAPPS including attendance and punctuality, reward and sanction, socio-economic background, EDACI post codes, Free School Meals and other mitigating factors as well as academic (progress and attainment data) were noted and recorded.

A Staff Improvement and Action Group (SIG) was formed and led (Assistant Headteacher - Disadvantaged Students) leading to a common vision across departments and a shared approach to good practice.

Working practices using Sutton Trust materials, as well as guided workshops from external providers such as IntoUniversity were adopted.

Year 2

Students experienced a more coordinated approach with each student having an Academic key worker, (e.g. a Form Tutor or Subject Teacher) as well as a peer buddy in an older year. Years 12 and 13 were encouraged to mentor younger students as part of the College volunteering programme

Associate Lead Teachers were appointed with a specific brief to focus on the work of the HAPP in each year group as well as to research areas of best practice and support staff CPD through twilight sessions.

Year 3

Further development of a structured programme about confidence, leadership, study skills, organisation, academic challenge and resilience as well as confidence boosting provided by IntoUniversity.

This programme was established for Key Stage 4 and 5 students with support of University of Sussex (Widening Participation) and University of Brighton (Compact Plus)

Through NCOP funding students engaged with the Brilliant Club as well as Elevate (Post-16) and other providers - e.g. UNIQ Summer Schools, Sutton Trust summer schools, SSE Study Days at University of Sussex. Key Stage 4 trips to Oxbridge (Churchill College, Cambridge and St. John's College, Oxford) were designed to widen and deepen aspirations.

Impact: Regular tracking and analysis of data and regular necessary interventions showed evidence of increased attainment and progress. In the 16-19 group 2019 data showed that the HAPP students had an ALPS Grade 2 (Progress +0.46) compared to their non-disadvantaged peers with ALPS 3 (Progress +0.37). This was a marked improvement on the data of 2016 (Progress +0.02). In 2019, the disadvantaged students out performed their non-disadvantaged peers.

Reflections: The challenge has been to sustain the work of the project through continued links with outside providers and through the work in school of PPLs (Pastoral and Progress Leaders) and Subject Leaders. A key finding was the way the students responded best to a one-to-one approach. Feeling valued in this way led them to participate more fully and actively in the work of the project, and to benefit personally and academically as a result.

Contact: Mr Graham Goldup g.goldup@cncs.co.uk | Mr Peter Shears p.shears@cncs.co.uk