A Lambeth secondary school has won a national award for its work in improving the attainment of its disadvantaged pupils.
La Retraite RC Girls’ School picked up a Pupil Premium Award at a ceremony hosted by Childcare and Education Minister Sam Gyimah, in central London.
It beat scores of schools from across the country to the award, which recognises “schools which have which have helped improve the life chances of disadvantaged children”.
Twenty-one schools were named as finalists across four categories – and two from London, two from the North East and one from the South West were named as national winners. La Retraite, in Clapham Park, won in the key stage 4 category.
Park Campus Academy, also in Lambeth, was named national runner-up in the category for special schools and alternative provision schools.
All finalists were praised for consistently showing high levels of attainment or significant rates of improvement among their disadvantaged pupils. They had also demonstrated innovative and effective uses of the pupil premium, additional funding given to schools in England to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils and close the gap between them and their classmates.
They were presented with awards by respected education expert Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills at the OECD, who chaired the judging panel.
La Retraite headteacher, Dominic Malins, said: “We are extremely proud of the students and their achievements.
“Their success isn’t due to one factor, rather a range of ideas that have evolved over many years and are the result of all the staff and students working together to ensure that each individual student, pupil premium or not, is known and cared for and that their needs are met.”
Cathy Twist, Director of Education, Learning & Skills at Lambeth Council, said: “Pupil premium funding is given to schools to enable them to offer tailored and focussed support to pupils from more disadvantaged backgrounds.
“Their progress is measured by how well those pupils subsequently achieve in national tests. La Retraite RC Secondary Girls’ School has a high number of pupils in receipt of pupil premium and is also the highest achieving school in the borough at GCSE.
“Their outcomes are amongst the best in the country, as is recognised by this amazing award.”
The Government said that the pupil premium – worth £2.5bn this year – has enabled schools to provide vital support to some of the most vulnerable children in their care. Figures show the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers has narrowed since 2011, the year the pupil premium was introduced.
Mr Gyimah said: “The winners of the 2016 Pupil Premium Awards have shown just what this funding can achieve for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, whether it is raising their confidence or developing key skills.
“The winning schools deserve to be singled out for particular praise, but all of the finalists have shown innovative and effective uses of the funding. I hope more schools will take inspiration from what they have achieved today and follow in their footsteps.”
This year’s judging panel was made up of outstanding headteachers, including former award winners. For the first time, the awards have been sponsored by a wide range of organisations from the arts, culture, science and technology sectors, which will provide award-winning schools with exciting and culturally enriching opportunities for pupils and teachers.
The pupil premium is worth up to £1,900 per child and can be used however schools see fit to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils and close the gap between them and their peers.
Since April 2011, around £6.23 billion has been given to schools to improve the attainment of disadvantaged pupils.
Government figures show that attainment has risen in the latest year and its new measure shows the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers has narrowed since 2011 – the year the pupil premium was introduced – by 7.1% at key stage 2 and 6.6% at key stage 4.