Beech Hill Primary School

Pupil premium provision to meet the needs of the whole child.

Case study by Fiona Donaldson.

Tell us about your school

Beech Hill Primary, which is part of Valour Academy, is an outstanding National Support School in Newcastle. Being in an area of high social deprivation, our vision is that all children will feel loved, happy and safe. Our aim is to prepare children for life after to school by providing each child with many and varied opportunities to develop their character to feel accepted; to develop a sense of belonging; to be driven and resilient and to be inspired and be inspiring.

What did you do to create such notable success with the pupil premium?

Our main priorities at Beech Hill are to identify barriers to learning for children from the moment they arrive in school, particularly those who are below age related expectations. Whether it is a speech and language issue, a need for social and emotional support or just a lack of basic skills we have staff that are highly trained to identify needs and put strategies in place.

Many of our staff have trained as Thrive practitioners in the last 2 years as it was identified that one of our biggest challenges was ensuring children were able to engage in learning if they were in need of social and emotional support. Children who were seeing domestic violence, a culture of unemployment, and a lack of engagement with education made it very difficult to ignite a passion for learning. The training across school means that now over half the staff are trained to identify, assess and support children who need emotional support and are able to put in an intervention programme to fit alongside their learning.

Having a higher than average SEN cohort, we also have full time staff to support core learning across the school but primarily in Year 1 to support early reading and in Year 2 and Year 6 to deliver high quality daily interventions and challenge the More Able pupils. This has narrowed the gap between Pupil Premium and non-Pupil Premium children across our school.

We found that many of our children were coming to school without eating breakfast and were arriving at school low on energy and therefore not ready to learn. To meet the needs of these pupils we offer a funded Breakfast club where children can have a substantial and healthy breakfast. In addition we offer after school clubs including provision until 5pm so that parents are able to work. This allows children to choose from a wide range of stimulating extra-curricular clubs that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to access.

To give our children a wider range of experiences we fund residential from year 4 onwards. Our residential trips as well as day trips and visitors coming into school have an extremely positive impact on writing as our pupils have gained a broadening range of experiences. In particular, our Year 5 residential trip to London has created life-long memories for our disadvantaged children such as theatre and museum trips, eating out at restaurants and learning how to organise themselves on a daily basis.

This year for the first time we have funded 10 children to take on the challenge of the coast to coast travelling from Whitehaven to Tynemouth over 4 days. The children who took part in this described as one of the proudest moments in their lives and certainly meets our school value as being inspiring.

We also introduced Ted, our school dog, who is specially trained to be around children. Ted is used as an incentive for pupils to attend school every day as well as providing them with the responsibility of caring for a pet. Once Ted has completed his training he will be part of the ‘Reading with dogs’ scheme, to further accelerate progress in reading, as well as promote calm and relaxed reading behaviours. We have also found that Ted encourages children to talk about issues that may be bothering them. We now have children regularly asking if they can talk to Ted, which can often lead to a conversation with another child or a member of staff who can offer some support.

In order to monitor the impact of our pupil premium strategy our school created a post for a Pupil Premium Champion. This person meets regularly with the PP children to get to know them as individuals and not just on an academic level. She has a very good understanding of the interests of these children and ensures as far as possible that their needs are met in terms of their enjoyment of school life. She also is responsible for monitoring pupil progress and engagement in learning and liaises with staff where necessary to further support pupils.


We have found in recent years the funding for Pupil premium is achieving maximum impact as we are supporting the needs of the whole child as well as their families and the local community.

Successful Thrive training for over half of the teaching staff in school has resulted in Children with social and emotional development having their needs identified at an early stage. These children are supported and monitored regularly and all children involved with the Thrive programme engage fully. Staff have commented on the ability of children engaging with the Thrive programme when putting strategies taught into practice day-to day. Self-regulation has improved in a number of individuals in school.

Introducing Read Write Inc as our primary phonics programme across Early Years and Key Stage One had a huge impact on phonics, reading and writing development. 93% of Y1 pupils passed the phonics test which is a considerable improvement on last year’s results and our highest pass rate to date. The programme has ensured consistency in the delivery of phonics and the modelling of reading and writing and the levels of engagement from all children, particularly PP children, have also improved.

Through the employment of extra teaching staff across school, pupils have been provided with additional support and challenge, resulting in outstanding progress and attainment across KS1 and KS2, reflected in SATs results, where pupils consistently achieve better than local and national average.

Meetings and discussions between the designated Pupil Premium Champion and Pupil Premium children have confirmed that all children have high aspirations and don’t feel as though they have barriers holding them back when it comes to enjoying and experiencing school life. No child is left out of any opportunity provided by the school and extra cultural and life experiences are provided where possible.

What next for your pupil premium strategy?

Following our success, we are continuing with many of the strategies that were out in place a year ago. To build on this we plan to continue to meet the needs of the whole child by providing counselling for those who pupils need it. We are also funding further staff to train as Thrive practitioners to support the social and emotional development of children. Our annual arts week continues to grow in status and in the coming year we plan to maintain our links with Northern stage and for children to have the opportunity to perform in a theatre giving them on opportunity that they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Sharing good practice

Being a National support school we have links with many other schools that we have been able to share our good practice with.

Winning the Award

Staff, parents and pupils were immensely proud of our achievement. Staff are motivated by the success, knowing that the effort they put in is having a positive impact on our children.

Get in touch

School office –

Fiona Donaldson – Pupil Premium Champion –