In a blog released yesterday for the TES Sir John Dunford has identified 12 key ways for schools to maximise return for pupil premium funding. Sir John has spent the last two years as a “national pupil premium champion” acting as a facilitator between government and schools for pupil premium; feeding back information to the government from schools about pupil premium, and addressing school leaders at conferences about how to maximise the impact of pupil premium spending.
Although Sir John identified 12 key areas of focus for pupil premium strategizing and policy development, there are three areas identified by Sir John which Bridge Builders Mentoring is most able to support through our programmes.
- “When a pupil’s progress slows, interventions are put in place rapidly”.
Bridge Builders’ mentoring scheme ensures that pupils’ progress is very closely monitored throughout the academic year. Regular targets are set by mentors, in addition to those set by schools, and progress towards such targets is evaluated and analysed regularly by both school and mentor. Mentors are able to feedback to schools about the progress of their mentees, which supports schools’ monitoring of pupils.
Crucially, mentoring can also act as the early intervention needed to steer pupils back onto the “right path” and ensure that they continue to make progress at school. Mentees and mentors often develop close and supportive relationships and where, in the case of Bridge Builders mentors, they are successful business people, they are able to guide their mentees to success.
- If poor attendance is an issue, this is addressed as a priority”
Attendance is key to academic success and good attendance is essential for enabling young people to make a successful transition into employment. Bridge Builders mentoring scheme has a demonstrable positive impact on attendance. Within the first two terms of mentoring it was found that 52% of Bridge Builders mentees showed an improvement in attendance, and the average increase in attendance was 5%. In a focused study of Bridge Builders mentees in a North London school it was found that attendance amongst Bridge Builders mentees increased by 0.5% since the Bridge Builders programme began at the school in January 2015. This compares to an average increase of 0.2% for all year 11 pupils at the school and to an increase of 0.01% for a low attaining control group of year 11 pupils at the school.
- “…all staff [should convey] positive and aspirational messages to PP-eligible pupils”
Role modelling is crucially important to young people from all backgrounds, but especially to those who are eligible from pupil premium funding and are from more deprived socio-economic backgrounds. Mentors who are successful business people or are senior managers within large corporate organisations able to act as role models for young people. Many of Bridge Builders’ mentors are from disadvantaged backgrounds themselves and have had to overcome significant challenges to achieve success. They are instantly credible amongst mentees as excellent role models and as people to look up to.