How we can support disadvantaged pupils: The 15th National Pupil Premium Conference

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:

As the cost of living crisis bites, Headteacher Update’s 15th National Pupil Premium Conference on March 17 offers a range of advice, ideas and insights into effective practice in schools.

The annual event takes in Birmingham on Friday, March 17, when 14 practical, evidence-based sessions will be on offer to delegates from primary and secondary schools.

With the cost-of-living crisis exacerbating the challenges faced by families already living in poverty – and placing many more into financial hardship – the work of schools to support the learning and progress of disadvantaged children has never been more vital.

The conference will help you to evaluate your work, discover new and innovative approaches, and hear from colleagues across the country who are dedicated to Pupil Premium practice.

The one-day event will showcase the work of primary and secondary schools, while also hearing from experts in wellbeing, mental health, vulnerable children, SEN, EAL and many more areas.

The event will feature two keynote presentations and 12 workshops. All of our speakers have been asked to focus on ideas and strategies that can be adapted and adopted for other classrooms, schools, and trusts.

Keynote Presentations

This year, the event’s two keynote presentations will focus on specific aspects of Pupil Premium work and how we can support specific vulnerable cohorts.

First, experts from The Bell Foundation will consider effective provision for refugee and asylum-seeking children who are new to English.

With increasing numbers of schools welcoming learners who are refugees or asylum seekers, there is an increasingly urgent need for schools to embed appropriate and sustainable provision, systems, and staff training to meet the needs of these learners – and there are clear links with the Pupil Premium.

Asylum-seeking children are eligible for free school meals and thus the Pupil Premium. Refugee children are not automatically eligible for the Pupil Premium but could become eligible depending on circumstances.

This session will include advice on the distinct needs of these learners, with recommendations for embedding effective, sustainable provision, including how to get the start right and welcoming the learner/their family/carers; why it is important to collate and share information about new arrivals; and how to promote academic and social inclusion.

Second, we will take a look at the Pupil Premium Plus and effective learning strategies for looked after children, offering practical strategies to support the learning, attendance and progress of children living in care.

Virtual school headteacher Darren Martindale will consider how schools might spend the Pupil Premium Plus funding that follows looked after children, including the crucial role of PEPs (Personal Education Plans). He will offer practical insights into what makes an effective PEP, how these should be created, how to set learning targets, and the role of the designated teacher.

He will also discuss the types of interventions and strategies that can be effective for both Pupil Premium Plus, Pupil Premium and other vulnerable students – including strategies for promoting good attendance.

Twelve Practical Workshops

The conference will offer 12 practical workshops – the majority of which will be led by practising classroom professionals. There will be five ̀primary-specific and five secondary-specific workshops, as well as two sessions relevant to both phases.

It means that both primary and secondary colleagues attending the event will have a choice of seven different practical workshops each.

Many of the workshops are case studies of schools’ Pupil Premium work and interventions, offering practical insights into some tried and tested approaches, lessons learned, achievements seen, and tips for success.

Cross-phase workshops

  • Ofsted and the Pupil Premium
  • Using teaching assistants to develop an inclusive and supportive classroom

Primary workshops

  • Closing the reading gap and opening doors for disadvantaged pupils
  • Pupil Premium tutoring and teaching
  • When Pupil Premium meets SEND
  • Five strategies for bringing Pupil Premium alive in primary
  • Understanding the wider needs of pupils in receipt of Pupil Premium and enabling successful outcomes

Secondary workshops

  • Supporting high-quality teaching and removing non-academic barriers
  • Pupil Premium leadership and effective approaches
  • Pupil Premium dos & don'ts: On His Majesty’s (not so) secret service
  • Five strategies for bringing Pupil Premium alive in secondary
  • Session TBC

There will also be networking time and a conference exhibition. You can reserve your place now with an early bird rate of £279 available until January 31. The normal delegate rate is £329.

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