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Ashcroft Technology Academy

Ashcroft Technology Academy

Evaluation of usage in 2018-2019

For the 2018/19 financial year, ATA received a lower level of funding from that available in 2017/2018, brought about through a small reduction in the number of students eligible for PPG. This has been the picture for the past five years as fewer students have become eligible for this.

The Academy received approximately £400,000 by way of pupil premium to support the education provision of those most disadvantaged. Aside from the provision of Free School Meals (FSM), for which support funding is provided separately within the main grant allocation for those entitled, ATA also continued to support qualifying students with financial assistance when purchasing ATA uniform at the start of both Year 7 and Year 9 (£55 per relevant year); with a contribution towards the cost of a residential trip once in their time at ATA ( £95 contribution) and in subsidising the cost of music lessons by 50% from which 2 students continue to benefit in 2018/19.  This number has dropped in recent years but it’s a provision that the Academy has continued to offer.

The majority of this funding continued to be devoted to staffing focused on disadvantaged students - in particular Learning Mentors (2.8 full time equivalent staff) and Assistant Learning Mentors (5.6 full time equivalent staff) - as well as funding a proportion of the time spent by senior staff and pastoral heads in specific monitoring of these and of LAC students. Mentoring benefits not only those who are removed from whole class situations for individualised study but also those remaining within the class setting, allowing them to work more effectively as a group of students without disruption. Those who have individualised study are reintegrated into mainstream settings, when appropriate, and those absent from ATA for various reasons are provided with catch-up opportunities, again run with dedicated staff support.

The funding was also used to support the progress of the most vulnerable students in ATA through raising their literacy and numeracy and by allowing focused groups to operate in a conducive learning environment. This continued the strong focus implemented the previous year with the introduction of study hall, departmental power hours, catch up sessions in the Learning Resources Centre (LRC) overseen by a Learning Mentor and a member of the LRC staff and the extended use of both the Easter and May term breaks for exam revision sessions. The LRC is also available from 7.30 in the morning each day for students who lack study space and the correct environment at home to complete work. This is overseen by the Academy Librarian. The Academy undertook refurbishment of this facility in readiness for 2019/20 so that it is even better equipped to host these extended opportunities and to provide a dedicated, supported and focused space for completing homework and catch-up activities. This is of particular benefit to our disadvantaged students who are less likely to have the availability of this level of resourcing and support at home.

Attendance and punctuality are key to progress and attainment. The employment of a full-time Education Welfare Officer is fundamental to maximising these essential requirements, which can be a particular concern amongst those from disadvantaged backgrounds and checking absences is rigorously carried out. ATA provided a number of incentives to reward excellent attendance and used a detailed, internally developed attendance tracker across all Years from 7 to 11. Students, form tutors, year heads and senior staff make significant use of this with a robust emphasis on the need for students (and staff) to be present at all times. This focus continued in 2018/19 with an updated Attendance & Punctuality Policy and Procedures to underpin this. With a target for attendance again set at 97% (well above the 95% achieved for a school with similar levels of disadvantaged students in 2017/18).  ATA also employed the services of two Counsellors who each worked a day per week with a number of vulnerable students. 

ATA’s extensive support provision, together with its unstinting focus on the requirement for traditional values, courtesies and expectations, enhances the attainment and progress levels of those for whom such funding is targeted. This has helped to narrow the outcomes achieved in public examinations and other attainment and progress measures. Progress for disadvantaged students is negligibly below that of the Academy student population as a whole, but when compared to the national picture, they significantly outperform on both disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged platforms. As such, ATA remains a strong advocate of government priorities in what is a key area for schools to channel educational support. This can only assist in raising the levels of attainment for this particular group of students and to reduce the large attainment gap that exists nationally between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged student examination success. ATA maintains that it provides an excellent role in this area.

Academic support is extensive, particularly within English and Maths.  In Maths, small class sizes operate at the very bottom end, offering more one-to-one support for those who need it most: (up to eight students in bottom KS3 sets and up to seven students in bottom KS4 sets). The subject also offered a homework support club on Wednesday lunchtimes – the club works on a voluntary basis and there was a consistent turnout in the year. Year 12 Maths mentoring to underperforming Year 11 students took place on Monday lunchtimes – some 65 students have been involved in this and the numbers are set to grow, in response to interventions in place after October mocks. Maths Power Hour – runs as an exam support club for Year 11s on Fridays after school by working through a bank of over 400 questions on the student shared drive. Former student and PGCE student mentoring of key Year 11 students continued to take place, providing additional support taught in small groups during form time. The students were also taken out of lessons during revision weeks to benefit from one-to-one help.   

In English, all students are provided the same challenge throughout Year 7, whilst remaining cognizant of their Key Stage 2 baseline data. Setting is in place from Year 8, the timetable is blocked as far as possible to allow for movement up and down. The lowest four sets are smaller in number so that the students can have more teacher focus. A number of clubs operate at Ley Stage 3 in particular and some students are encouraged to take up roles supporting in the library to develop a whole range of personal skills. These students are often those from disadvantaged backgrounds. KS4 students are provided with revision guides which are funded by English department and the department also looks to offset the cost of trips.

Supervised morning fitness was introduced four years ago and is now a popular feature at the start 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. The Academy has also provided funding to support pupil premium students to compete, travel and provide kit for elite level participation in their chosen sports.


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. 


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


Term break revision programme


Breakfast Club (50% support cost)


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)


SEN transportation


Music Tuition subsidy



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