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The Marlborough Science Academy

Disadvantaged Students

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 in all year groups (apart from year 11), 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 250 PP/Ever 6 students averaging 48/50 in each year group, students in receipt of bursary in Post 16 are 8 in Year 12 and 8 in Year 13. 

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 we are working to engage 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 – this year we have 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. We are currently exploring means tested vouchers for parents who may wish to seek tutoring outside of the school day provision we have here as well as looking at a way to support club memberships, provision of kit and transport to enrichment activities.

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, to try and 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.


Disadvantaged Student Performance 2018-19


Marlborough Disadvantaged Students

Marlborough non-Disadvantaged 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*




Disadvantaged Student Funding 2018-19

Total Disadvantaged Student Grant for 2018-19: £211,310.




Attendance Improvement Officer and DS Admin Support


Increased individual interventions with students whose attendance is below 85% or at risk of dropping, focusing particularly on DS.  Detailed interventions have led to an overall increase in the attendance of students, rising from 94% in 2015-16 to 95% in 2018-19.

Disadvantaged attendance has risen from 89% in 2015-16 to 92% 2018-19.  In the same period the percentage of disadvantaged persistent absentees dropped from 31% in 2015-16 to 16% in 2018-19

Intervention and Inclusion Officer


130 specific and rapid interventions with students across all year groups with specific social needs.  Impact varies depending on the student.  There are case studies to demonstrate impact.

Our Intervention and Inclusion officer has also lead on year group focussed interventions including: Anti-bullying with Year 7,  Healthy Life Style Choices with Year 9,  Accepting Differences work with Year 10 and Anxiety and Managing Stress with Year 11

Additional English and Mathematics Teacher


Allowed for smaller group sizes and implementation of Rapid Progress pathways, allowing more contact time for disadvantaged students.  Impact can be seen through disadvantaged students performing in line with their peers particularly at KS3.  Average progress of Rapid Progress students across Year 7 and 8 in English was 5.2 subgrades and Maths was 4.8 sub grades with the other students making 5.0 and 3.7 subgrades respectively.

2 x Assistant Teachers


The work of the Assistant Teachers was focused on the supporting the disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students in the Rapid Progress and Enhanced Learning pathways.  They’re work contributes to the progress made by the PP students particularly at KS3.  Average progress of Rapid Progress students across Year 7 and 8 in English was 5.2 subgrades and Maths was 4.8 sub grades with the other students making 5.0 and 3.7 subgrades respectively.

Accelerated Reader Scheme


Programme led by LRC staff to raise reading skills of students arriving with weak literacy allowing them to engage more effectively with the curriculum.
In total 630 students took part in the programme across Years 7, 8 and 9, with an average reading age increase of 9.5 months during the year.  Disadvantaged students’ progress was 9.4 months compared to 9.5 months of the non-disadvantaged students.

The students involved in the morning reader programme (aimed at very weak readers) from Year 7 and 8 made on average 17.7 months of progress during the year showing that they are rapidly catching up.

Educational Visits


Curriculum trips are fully funded and extra-curricular enrichment trips supported at 25% of the cost.
Impact of this is that 118 disadvantaged students had curriculum trips fully funded ensuring they had access to the same provision as the non-disadvantaged peers.
69 students had enrichment trips partly funded increasing their cultural capital.
We paid more than the standard 25% for 5 students on enrichment trips due to specific identified need and to give then experiences they would otherwise be unlikely to have.

Learning resources and Revision materials


Purchase of revision and other learning support materials for students in Year 11 and 10 as part of their exam preparation.  Impact of this strategy is that 337 revision guides and learning resources were purchased for disadvantaged students ensuring disadvantaged students have access to the same materials as their peers.

Art Therapy


Weekly programme for individuals with specific emotional need.  The therapist worked with 12 students 5 of whom were disadvantage students.  The needs of each student are specific to them and impact varies for each one.  Individual case studies demonstrate impact.

Laptops and IT Support


The purchase of IT equipment to support disadvantaged students learning allowing access to ICT facilities in and out of school.  The majority of this was at the end of the year to buy laptops for the Rapid Progress pathway to allow them to access specific software to further develop their literacy and numeracy skills.  This will show impact in 2019-20

Doddle and Exam Pro subscription


Subscription to the Science section of Doddle website to support in class learning, home learning and revision for all students at KS3 and KS4.  In a survey of Year 11 2019, 87% of the students said they used Doddle as an active part of their revision for Science.



Assistance in transport costs for disadvantaged students to and from school who would otherwise not be able to get into school and access their education.  Average attendance of the students supported in transport cost was 85%.



Supporting disadvantaged students with elements of or a full uniform or PE kit ensuring they follow the uniform policy and their attendance did not drop.  Average attendance of students having received uniform was 92%


Disadvantage Student Funding 2019-20

The Disadvantaged Students funding for 2019 - 2020 is £235,000.  We are planning to use the funding to provide the following:


Impact Measure

Attendance Improvement Officer

Increase in attendance of disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students and a further drop in the percentage of disadvantaged 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

One-to-One and small group Maths and English Tutors

Gap closing between the performance of students DS and non-DS in English and Mathematics

Additional English Teacher

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

Family Engagement Worker

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

2 x Assistant Teachers

Progress of disadvantaged 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

Testimonials from DS students taking part in Game Changer days

Art Therapy

Case studies of impact with students

Doddle subscription

Gap closing between the performance of students DS and non-DS in Science

Transport costs for targeted DS students

Attendance for targeted DS students meeting school targets

Revision and other learning materials for DS students

Gap in attainment closing between DS and non-DS students

Breakfast club

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

Support for access IT resources

All DS 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 disadvantaged students

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