Beyond Pupil Premium

Tackling education disadvantage in schools

This project will support leaders’ understanding of poverty-informed practice in schools and will enable them to develop strategies to tackle educational disadvantage at scale.

(A second year of the project is planned to continue the development of curriculum planning with disadvantage in mind.)


Headteachers, Deputy Headteachers, Pupil Premium Leads, Curriculum Leads.

Project Objectives

  • To use the pupil premium to both understand and tackle educational disadvantage in schools
  • To understand and respond to hyperlocal educational disadvantage in schools and communities
  • To design and implement curriculum with educational disadvantage in mind.

Project Outcomes

  • To have evaluated and improved PP strategy based on research principles
  • To use the ‘Five Whys’ in understanding a complex and ‘persistent problem’ in school
  • To develop a network map around a specific area of local community need
  • To develop an understanding and a strategy for curriculum planning in relation to poverty and disadvantage
  • To create a plan for reviewing elements of curriculum, this may be the basis of a second year of the project.

Session 1

Tales of the Pupil Premium

  • To know current research trends regarding poverty and educational disadvantage
  • To understand the limitations of using the PP as the only proxy for tackling disadvantage
  • To know current research trends for making more effective use of the PP in schools to understand and tackle educational disadvantage
  • To evaluate the extent to which our PP strategies in schools are ‘poverty informed’.

Session 2

Doorstep disadvantage: understanding and responding to local need

  • To know the value and importance of understanding hyperlocal need as part of tackling disadvantage
  • To know current research trends regarding poverty and educational disadvantage
  • To identify where to find additional sources of information/data to support this in schools
  • To explore and know a range of strategies to help understand and ‘diagnose’ local need through the day-to-day work of being an operational school
  • To begin to make use of stakeholder/partnership network maps to tackle local need.

Session 3

Crafting curriculum with disadvantage in mind

  • To revisit the principles of curriculum design with poverty and neurology in mind
  • To explore the principles of the SHINE project to curriculum design developed by Tees Valley Education
  • To know the technique of pre-mortem in lesson and curriculum design
  • To practise the use of pre-mortem for curriculum design to better diagnose and tackle misconceptions in the curriculum for disadvantaged pupils.

Beyond Pupil Premium


Sean Harris

Tees Valley Education

Sean Harris is a doctoral researcher with Teesside University investigating the ways in which system leaders can help to address poverty and educational inequality in schools. He is also a trust improvement leader at Tees Valley Education, an all-through multi-academy trust serving communities in the North East of England.

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