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Ashcroft Technology Academy

Ashcroft Technology Academy

Evaluation of usage in 2017-2018

For the 2017/18 financial year, ATA received a lower level of funding from that provided in 2016/2017.  This decrease is the result of a small reduction in the number of students eligible for PPG. This has been the picture for the past four years as fewer students have become eligible for this.

Support for those who remained entitled to FSM in the year continued beyond the free meal provision (funded separately), with uniform purchase support in Years 7 and 9 and funding assistance towards the cost of one residential trip during a student’s time with ATA as referred to earlier. The values of these were maintained at £55 and £95 respectively per student as was the case the previous year too.

Also continuing in 2017/2018 was the subsidised support of music lessons (again for those on FSM) at a rate of 50% per £14 half hour lesson. 6 students were in receipt of subsidised music lessons during the academic year. The performing arts department also operates a Scholarship system open to underprivileged students with access to high quality, private music education that allows them to develop - a number of students who have been awarded Scholarships have gone on to win main parts in productions and contribute in a significant way to the musical life of ATA.  The Art department provides materials for students to use in the Academy and at home so that they can produce good quality work.

Supervised morning fitness was introduced two years ago and is now a popular feature of the Academy day.  Students are able to access the weights’ room, the cardio room and the three gyms to exercise or to play team sports before school.  This is particularly important to GCSE PE Students who are unable to pay for club memberships and who need to practise technique and improve fitness levels.  The PE department provides PE kit to students who are unable to purchase new kit when the old kits are too small or worn.  FSM students are also entitled to have their Duke of Edinburgh enrolment fees paid and the PE department will also provide food and materials for the expeditions.

Attendance rewards remain hugely popular with students, with the underlying aim of encouraging higher levels of attendance, and these impact in a significantly positive way on disadvantaged students. Aside from prizes for the highest attendance, prizes are also offered as rewards to those who show greatest improvement and who are deemed to have made the greatest efforts to improve poor attendance – including students who have overcome considerable difficulties to attend regularly. This has extended into the areas of effort and behaviour as well as attendance and prizes are allocated for each year group aside from other prizes ranging from Premier League football tickets and early lunch passes to trips to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and cinema tickets. 2016/17 saw the inclusion of a boat trip and picnic to Hampton Court Palace, which proved a real hit with the Year 9s.

2016/17 saw the 3rd full year of use of the student attendance tracker system. Aside from being used to support the key message of the merits of full attendance, this continues to engender a competitive spirit amongst the students both collectively as form groups and individually as well as contributing to point scoring across the House system. ATA achieved an impressive 96.9% attendance figure for 2016-17 against a national average figure for secondary schools of 94.8% placing ATA within the top 5% of schools nationally. Those with FSM eligibility had a total of 3.2% absence in 2016/17 compared to a local authority average of 4.9% in 2015/16 and a national figure of 8.5% the same year.

Academic support is extensive.  In English and Maths, an increase in the number of sets has allowed staff to target students in a more effective way and develop their knowledge of and confidence in both subjects, and this is evidenced in the results for both subjects.  Year 13 mentoring in form time in both subjects and support with homework and study also help students who are not able to access tutoring or extra resources at home.  An annual subscription to three online Maths resources, which are available to all students means that students, regardless of background, have the same entitlement to additional study and support.

Further interventions aimed at Year 7 in 2016/2017 continued practice from previous years and included the provision of small group literacy classes timetabled during the day for those weaker students who were unable to access the modern languages curriculum. Handwriting and homework clubs operated at lunch times and after school and paired reading sessions for reluctant learners, led by sixth form students, successfully operated in the Learning Resource Centre, with two groups operating once a week during registration periods and a separate paired reading/units of sound provision during form time aimed at weaker students and those with dyslexia. On both the literacy and numeracy side, smaller sized classes operate for the lowest English and maths sets so that more personalized support can be provided. Several former sixth form students have also supported with maths knowledge and understanding with weaker students across the age ranges. The Year 7 Literacy and Numeracy Catch-Up Grant also supports these interventions.

The introduction of ‘Study Hall’ - led by members of the Leadership Group - and subject-based ‘Power Hours’ has helped to erode the academic and study gaps that exist for disadvantaged students.  Power Hours, led by subject specialists, target gaps in understanding and equip students with the skills to process and learn large amount of information.  Study Hall is a facility for students who do not have the space or the correct ambience at home in which to work or study. 

Two members of staff were awarded a TLR3 payment to research, design and implement numeracy and literacy strategies and clinics that would develop students’ oracy and literacy in all year groups, with a particular focus on academically weak and FSM Students.  Our weekly Professional Development programme included activities to equip staff with the knowledge and skills to create ‘knowledge’ seating plans and to differentiate lessons effectively in order to maximize progress and results. 

One-to-one support in our SEN department for students who are at risk of academic failure and who lack the confidence and support to self-manage has improved the academic achievement of our FSM Students.  The support offered includes academic coaching, support with college applications and interviews, study support and working with parents to support good study habits at home. 

From a staffing perspective, ATA employs three full time and one part time Learning Mentors and six Assistant Learning Mentors who all work extensively with students withdrawn from lessons for a specified period of time with the ultimate aim of ensuring their return to whole class teaching. This has proved hugely successful following its introduction a number of years ago when ATA first came into being and is a high-profile provision that has a high impact on student behaviour, attainment and achievement. Alongside this staffing, the education welfare and counselling services together with the specific focus on disadvantaged students by key senior staff and pastoral heads of year, gives the overall provision that allows ATA students from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to accomplish levels of achievement far in excess of the national averages and enables ATA to narrow the gap over time between the attainment of so called advantaged and disadvantaged students.

Costs met from pupil premium funds^ to support the interventions outlined above are as follows:-

Staffing Related


Learning Mentors & Asst Learning Mentors – full cost


Education Welfare Officer – full cost


Counselling/external mentoring provision


Specific LG interventions (3 x 30%)


Heads of Year (10%)  & Other LG (10%) interventions


Study Hall management and oversight


Easter revision programme


Breakfast Club (50% support cost)


LRC support after school


LRC provision prior to school




Other Related Costs


Direct pupil support (clothing grants/vouchers etc.)


ICAS running costs


Journey Grants


Meal support (non-current fsm students)


Music Tuition subsidy


^ - Includes  expenditure from funding carried forward from prior year.