Rose Bridge Academy

Making a difference.

Case study by Debra Wood.

Tell us about your school

Rose Bridge Academy is an 11-16 truly comprehensive school. We have over 60% of our students who are Pupil Premium and are 95% white British in an old coal mining community. We have 17 students who are looked after. We have large numbers of SEND students and this is an area of exemplary practice. We are expanding rapidly and are now oversubscribed.  Attendance to school has improved tremendously over the last few years and is now above national average.

Our main barriers to attainment for our disadvantaged students has been attendance to school, low attainment on entry and often a lack of aspiration.

All our children who are looked after have different barriers and challenges to their attainment and achievement. It is important that this is recognised so we can plan appropriate interventions for each unique child. Children who are looked after in the school are generally disadvantaged by their lower starting points in particular in English/ Literacy skills. Some have had turbulent placements or have recently gone into public care which often places them as highly vulnerable and unsettled until a more stable long-term placement can be sought for them. Our PP strategy is reviewed on a regular basis and we set clear priorities to ensure that any of our PP funding is used to feed into these priorities. No initiative is used unless we can measure the impact.

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

We are truly inclusive school. Our priority has always been quality first teaching to ensure that teachers know who their CLA students are and ensure the plan well from the beginning to ensure they have maximum progress without the need for undue out of class intervention. If the teachers get it right first time this then negates the need for additional intervention. Through student voice we found that the students preferred not to have withdrawal with the virtual school’s team, but preferred to be in class, with the support in lessons with them. The students also identified that they didn’t like meetings in school time as they often went to class upset. We arrange all these meetings in the afternoon to help prevent this for them.

We have an extensive range of reading programmes to encourage our students to have a love of reading and to support their improvements in literacy skills. This helps to unlock the curriculum.

Where students have been at risk of exclusion, we have acted swiftly working with all agencies to put rapid interventions into place to avoid any exclusions.

They have full access to our learning mentors and a member of SLT with responsibility to support them. They also have access to the following:

  • Daily Head of Year support.
  • Daily Behaviour Support Team involvement.
  • One to one support from Virtual Schools Team.
  • CAMHS input, and involvement in the CAMHs pilot
  • 1:1 Mentoring both school staff and outside agencies
  • Money brought into reception and put directly onto cashless catering account to prevent saving it up to spend elsewhere.
  • Careers summer school
  • Summer school
  • PEP targets focused on attending lessons, revision and completing work.
  • Attendance at a variety of university visits to support raising aspirations
  • Support from the drug and alcohol team 1 hour per week in school.
  • Weekly counselling available
  • Tier 3 support from CAMHS
  • Priority and additional career meetings to support transition post 16.
  • Additional 1:1 reading sessions in library


Our looked after children 2016 achieved well above their expectations. 50% achieved 5+A*-C including English and maths and those students are now studying A levels with a view to going to University.  Progress 8 was +0.28.

All our looked after children have outstanding attendance to school, the majority have 100% attendance. We use the EEF toolkit to ensure that all our strategies are research based evidence. We also liaise closely with the virtual school’s team regarding suggested intervention strategies.

We regularly analyse data to ensure that our looked after students are keeping up with their peers and any slippage in grades triggers immediate intervention. We have regular student voice discussions, to ensure that our interventions are beneficial. Where interventions have been less successful than we would have liked we will stop using them and review.

We are well aware of our students’ individual barriers and plan accordingly through detailed PEP analysis. We do not do a one size fits all model of intervention. We run a flexible model as some students need varying amounts of support throughout their school career. We ensure that we act swiftly when the intervention and support needs to be increased and vice versa.

We also use student voice as a measure of impact. We track students post 16 and keep in touch with our looked after children to support them right the way through college.

What next for your pupil premium strategy?

As our attendance is now so strong we have reviewed the strategy so whilst this is and will always remain a priority, it has less of a focus. We have reviewed a number of initiatives, some have been costly and have had limited impact we no longer run these.

Sharing good practice

We have been asked to speak at several local and national conferences, the award has certainly attracted further recognition of the work that we do. We are also planning to host in house conferences to share the good practice that takes place in our school.

Winning the Award

Having national recognition has certainly helped in many areas, especially the increased publicity. The prizes we have been offered are actually amazing. There is also a real sense of pride around school that we are doing a good job and that is reflected with both the staff and all our students- they are really proud of our school. Governors are delighted as it gives them further evidence that we are doing a good job!

Get in touch

The best contact is via our school email please make sure it is marked for the attention of the Headteacher Mrs D Wood.