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The Marlborough Science Academy

Disadvantaged Students and the Use of Public Funds for Curriculum Recovery

Pupil Premium at Marlborough

The Marlborough Science Academy is a fully inclusive 11 – 18 comprehensive school of 1,280 children. Its context is interesting in that its post code AL1 would indicate high levels of affluent families within our catchment area and over the years, as confidence in our provision has increased, in terms of distance, we are offering more places to families within the AL area. Of note is our proximity to what used to be referred to as a super output area indicative of high levels of deprivation from a variety of criteria including financial, lack of parental engagement, aspiration, lack of cultural capital and children with a complex combination of adverse childhood experiences which, depending on the input of their feeder schools have had significant interventions in place or none.


St Albans is traditionally viewed as a most affluent and predominantly white professional area, within our catchment there are two private schools as well as a highly selective school that have in previous years impacted on the top 2% of attainment range, it is accurate to say however that perceptions in the local community have most certainly shifted, we are full or almost full in all year groups, we are at capacity mainly limited by classroom space at post 16 and, heavily over-subscribed, particularly in year 7.

Currently across the school there are 216 PP/Ever 6 students averaging 43 in each year group, and 20 students are in receipt of Post 16 bursary. 

We are absolutely focussed on all students being treated equally and that there is a whole school emphasis on all children being valued and respected. We use our PP funding so that all children who need an extra helping hand in removing barriers to learning are supported, we are also looking to involve our parents more effectively in the learning as well as improving cultural capital for all. Whilst not always linked to PP students we are aware of the impact mental health issues can have on learning, as part of our work to try and ensure easier access to CAHMS support for help and guidance to staff and parents prior to the Trailblazer project we have invested in having our own mental health nurse working in school weekly. We have also used staff training and inset to raise awareness of its impact on students and how these may impact on learning.

One of our greatest concerns has been lack of parental engagement or school having an impact on closing the gap once students are off site. In a bid to try and improve engagement as well as involve families in some of the enrichment activities offered to students have appointed a parent engagement worker – in an epiphany moment we also wondered why when visiting the theatre or other such trips we don’t include parents so this too is part of our plan.

Whilst we have narrowed the gap in attendance significantly there is, we know, still a job to do in narrowing the gap across all subject areas – last year we invited all staff members to bid for money specifically aimed to engage PP students with their learning and where we can we have extended this so all learners can benefit.  In 2020, as soon as restrictions allow, we want to repeat this bidding process.

All lesson observations, learning walks, book looks, learning counts experiences all make sure no child is left behind with the learning and that there are no obvious differences in the books regarding uncompleted work due to low attendance, poor presentation due to lack of equipment or poor knowledge/skills, MINT classroom and increasingly Edulink are great tools that can be used by staff to ensure they know their students and as repeated throughout barriers to learning are removed.


Some of our young people have chaotic lives and if we can provide a sanctuary and a safe place then we will do that for any child. We have fought and won the battle with staff who we insist all have the highest of aspirations for every student regardless of their status and we are very careful in our use of language to ensure discretion, dignity and respect.

We have had some real success stories as well as significant failures in terms of the provision of students, the main barriers being self-esteem and self-worth, we get frustrated by the lack of external agency support in some instances hence the reason, funding allowing, we directly employ our own attendance officers, counsellors, mental health support and inclusion managers. Our curriculum pathways have become more robust in terms of ensuring all students are on the right pathway without destroying aspiration, however we are concerned about lower levels of literacy hindering progress and are currently looking to engage a variety of faculty staff across the school to adopt a more cohesive approach to ensuring reading becomes a passion rather than a chore – the impact of this change of focus is yet to be secured.


To conclude, I am extremely proud of all we have tried to implement to use PP funding wisely, creatively and in a measured way. What we have tried to do hasn’t always worked and there is still a job to do as the hard data shows, what is fundamentally clear however is that as a school there is nothing we would not consider if it made a student

  1. Meet/exceed their potential
  2. Encourage them to step outside of their comfort zone
  3. Open up their worlds nationally and internationally
  4. Raise self-awareness, confidence and belief
  5. Provide the skills and guidance, sometimes needed to battle against complex needs and ingrained attitudes to school or what can be achieved without just focussing on the academic curriculum.


The Covid-19 Lockdown has had a disproportionate impact on financially deprived families and reengaging young people from these families with their education and supporting their emotional wellbeing and mental health is vital.  We have employed a Re-engagement teacher to lead this work.  She is starting by identifying student needs and gaps in their learning, then working with the core faculties to provide small group supported catch up and ultimately allowing the students to reintegrate with their normal learning.  We are also providing extra mentoring and safe spaces outside of school hours for student to continue their catch up.  We have developed a mental health and wellbeing programme, being delivered by our Inclusion Officer to support students as they have returned from lockdown and start to reengage with their education.

Pupil Premium Student Performance 2019-20


Marlborough PP Students

Marlborough non-PP Students

Achieving 9-4 in English and Mathematics (Basics 9-4)



Achieving 9-5 in English and Mathematics (Basics 9-5)



Attainment 8



Progress 8*



English P8*



Maths P8*



EBAcc P8*



Open P8*




*As there will be no national progress data published for 2020 all progress measures have been calculated using the 2019 national data.


Pupil Premium Student Funding 2020-21

The Pupil Premium funding for 2020 - 2021 is £235,000.  We are planning to use the funding to provide the following:


Impact Measure

Attendance Improvement Officer

Increase in attendance of PP and non-PP students and a further drop in the percentage of PP students as PAs

Intervention and Inclusion Officer

Detailed and rapid interventions with students with specific social needs to allow them to access their learning more effectively. Case studies of impact with students

Re-engagement Teacher

Re-engage students that have not engaged with learning during lockdown across all year groups and lead their reintegration back into successful learning.  Impact will be seen through successful student and staff evaluations and students being successful in their in-class assessments, PPEs, and summer examinations.

Additional English and Maths Teacher

Progress of PP students at KS3 and KS4 and particularly progress of students on the Rapid Progress pathway.

Family Engagement Worker

Increased engagement of PP and vulnerable families to ensure a narrowing of the progress gap for the most vulnerable students.

2 x Assistant Teachers

Progress of PP students and students in Rapid Progress pathway.

Accelerated Reader Scheme and Secondary Reader Programme

Students following the scheme making progress to improve their reading skills allowing them to better access the curriculum.

Educational Visits

Testimonials from students attending the trips in terms of their understanding of a subject and enrichment.

Support for Extra Curricular Activities and Music Tuition

Testimonials from students partaking in extra-curricular activities

Game Changer Days (restrictions allowing)

Testimonials from PP students taking part in Game Changer days

Art Therapy

Case studies of impact with students

Transport costs for targeted PP students

Attendance for targeted PP students meeting school targets

Uniform costs for PP students

All PP students have access to full school uniform, PE and other equipment.

Revision and other learning materials for PP students

Gap in attainment closing between PP and non-PP students

Breakfast club

Participating PP students increased attendance in line with whole school targets.

Support for access IT resources

All PP students able to access IT resources outside of school so as to be able to learn effectively.

Individual faculty bids for projects and resources to enhance the learning of PP students
(restrictions allowing)

Impact of the intervention or resource will be dependent on the specifics of the project/resource.


As per DfE advice, following the Covid-19 lockdown, we will look at the impact of our Pupil Premium funding for 2019/2020 as part of a 2-year review and update this by 31st December 2021.

Covid Catch Up Premium Funding

The Marlborough Science Academy is committed to shaping futures and ensuring that all students have the opportunity to succeed. Our aim is to support the re-engagement of students and bridge any gaps in learning following the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns. In addition, to ensure that we are able to continue to provide all students access to their future learning and that any partial closures have a minimal effect on learning and wellbeing.

Please click on the link below to view a copy of our Covid Catch Up Premium Report:

Covid Catch Up Premium Report