St Mary’s Catholic High School Disadvantaged/FSM Strategy



“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled”



Vision and Intent

“Successful schools have a clear vision for what all their pupils will achieve through high quality teaching, with an ethos that reinforces aspiration and attainment for all. They realise the importance of getting the basics right, like attendance and behaviour…” S. Gyimah

It remains a constant at St Mary’s that quality first teaching, coupled with high aspirations regarding behaviour and attendance will remain the building blocks from which we will continue to ensure that all our pupils have access to the opportunities and experiences which will help them to leave our school having achieved their God given potential.

There are 4 key strands which will be the focus of this strategy and which will provide the key headings under which we will continue to develop our provision for those who are disadvantaged. It is the vision of this school that those who are socio-economically disadvantaged will leave our school having, where necessary, narrowed the gap in all these areas so that they are on a par with their peers.

  • Academic Achievement
  • Behaviour
  • Attendance
  • Cultural Capital

Further to this, as a Catholic School we will continue to drive our students forward on paths which help to develop their morals, virtues and character, so that all leave us knowing what it is to be a ‘good’ citizen.

The strategies below are designed to complement and work alongside all whole school strategies for Curriculum, Teaching & Learning, Behaviour and Attendance.


Key Priorities for 2020-2021

  • Prioritise quality–first teaching and further embed 5 key elements of positive discrimination in all lessons: Learning environment, Active participation, Checking for understanding, Priority feedback, Praise.


  • Track and Monitor FSM cohort as part of RAP meetings, Senior Link meeting, and Department meetings.


  • Enhance the promotion of and uptake of subject specific and broader extra-curricular activities for disadvantaged students. (Covid permitting).


  • Provide study skills, revision skills and provide aspirational careers advice for disadvantaged students.


  • Diminish the attendance gap between FSM and the remaining cohort.


  • Ensure that Cultural Capital is embedded across all departments, where relevant, in short, medium and long term planning.


  • To liaise with primary schools to allow for early targeting of attendance of disadvantaged students.


  • To promote positive engagement with parents of disadvantaged students regarding attendance.


ESFA Funding: St Mary’s Catholic High School received £1012 in additional funding to support disadvantaged students in the 16-19 age bracket. This money has been allocated in order to provide one to one Mathematics tuition for a student in Y12. This will enable this student to receive additional support throughout the academic year.


1.       Current summary information (2018/19)
School St Mary’s Catholic High School
Academic Year 2020-2021 Total PP budget (est) £144,235.00 Date of most recent PP Review N/A

Total number of pupils

1,348 Number of pupils eligible for PP (7-11) 139 Date for next internal review of this strategy 2022
2.     Current attainment
Attainment Measures PP All All Nat (all/other)
%4+ E&M 85.2% 91.4% N/A
%5+ E&M 44.4% 74.7% N/A
%4+ English 85.2% 92.4% N/A
%5+ English 63.0% 84.8% N/A
%4+ Mathematics 85.2% 91.9% N/A
%5+ Mathematics 55.6% 77.3% N/A
Progress 8 Average (Provisional) 0.26 0.50 N/A
Attainment 8 Average (Provisional)






Barriers to future attainment (for pupils eligible for PP)  
In-school barriers
A.      Disadvantaged students can have passive attitudes and a lack of engagement both in lessons and in terms of extra-curricular uptake.
B.       Low level disruption can affect the behaviour and focus of disadvantaged students in class.
C.       Lack of engagement with enrichment and extra-curricular activities.
D.      Literacy skills are not secure for some disadvantaged students, particularly boys.  This affects reading, writing and vocabulary.
E.       Some disadvantaged students struggle with study skills such as revision.
External Barriers
F. Attendance (and return to school) of some disadvantaged students affects progress.
G. Emotional well-being and lack of positive attitudes and resilience.
H. Basic care linked to nutrition, uniform, sleep and personal hygiene/appearance.
I. Lack of engagement with wider opportunities such as trips and educational opportunities often due to practical barriers.
J. Lack of aspiration and parental engagement with future plans.
K. Lack of cultural capital and the knowledge needed to deepen understanding of both curricular and extra-curricular opportunities.
L. Lack of organisation in terms of equipment to be prepared for learning – coming into school without practical items needed to learn.
M. Lack of support for home learning – this can be due to lack of parental support or practical issues at home that make this difficult.
Desired Outcomes/Chosen action Evidence and Rationale Implementation Success Criteria

Progress of PP students to be more closely matched to that of non PP students.

















































































Aii. Personal Development






























Focus on Quality First Teaching with strategies to engage disadvantaged learners at the forefront of staff training and quality assurance.  This will include a focus on key classroom strategies and best practice.
















Increase the number of sets in both English and Maths to enable smaller class sizes resulting in increased focus on underachievement of this cohort.






Focus on high aspirations for Post 16 and Post 18 Pathways for all but especially disadvantaged students.







Targeted support of those who have come into Y7 below the expected standard in English.





Targeted support of those who perform poorly in the Y7 Maths baseline assessment at the start of Year 7.







Develop the knowledge and understanding of disadvantaged students beyond the curriculum.





Personal Development to be explicitly introduced across all Key Stages and delivered through Form Time.

1.  John Dunford: ‘unerring focus on Quality Teaching’.

2. Sutton Trust:  HQ Teaching = 1.5 years learning.

3. EEF Research shows quality teaching equates to wise spending of pupil premium funding

4. EEF Family of schools show that disadvantaged students do well where every student does well.







Smaller class sizes inevitably means that teachers are able to build stronger relationships with those in their class and understand the needs of their learners in greater depth. Thus enabling teachers to adapt their teaching to the specific needs of the cohort in their class.

Evidence from other successful schools, universities and academic research suggests that early intervention and accurate targeting means that students can be placed on aspirational, yet achievable pathways.




Evidence and research undertaken by the Head of English found that this scheme was the best choice for our context.



Evidence tells us that those who have intensive intervention and for whom aspirations are high will make the greatest amount of progress.






DfE, Ofsted and the Sutton Trust have all produces research which highlights the needs for all students and especially the disadvantaged to engage with a broader and wider knowledge than provided in the curriculum.


The rationale behind this priority is linked to the fact that for some students, school years are seen in isolation rather than a learning pathway upon which key decisions at the end of Y9 and Y11 lead to the opening of specific doors and opportunities. By providing all students with a learning pathway and an understanding of what they are aiming towards, and why, we can ensure that all, including the disadvantaged have a coherent understanding of where they are and what they should be aiming towards.

Design, implement and monitor the progress of a whole school disadvantaged strategy

o   Pull together all disadvantaged strands in one strategy document

o   Roll out 5 key elements of positive discrimination

o   Produce booklet to support staff with practical ideas for classroom strategies

o   Monitor impact through LG QA

o   Share outstanding practice through discussion points at HODs

o   Address areas for development through SL meetings

o   Ensure more effective use of data to inform intervention

o   Deepen staff understanding of the disadvantaged cohort


Ensure that HoDs in English and Maths carefully set/group classes to ensure the best outcome for disadvantaged students.




Create a comprehensive and coherent package enabling the disadvantaged to be placed on the correct pathways for Post 16 and Post 18.






‘Fresh Start’ Scheme has been implemented this year to assess each pupil’s literacy and comprehension individually. Following this a bespoke scheme has been implemented for each student. There are two teachers in this class providing intensive input enabling those who are most academically challenged in English to achieve.

The Mathematics department implement an early baseline assessment for Year 7 all of whom are grouped as a result of this. Where appropriate, and in the main, disadvantaged students are ‘overpromoted’ in their groupings to raise aspirations and confidence levels.

Students in the bottom two groups receive additional ‘catch-up’ teaching in basic numeracy to support their learning and achievement.

Cultural Capital to be embedded across all schemes of learning, across all departments. By explicitly teaching students about knowledge we may mistakenly assume we are providing all students with an opportunity to learn about the wider context, meaning and purpose of the information they are being taught about.

All students to understand the learning journey that they are on at St Mary’s and to recognise and understand the opportunities available to them in order to raise aspirations through awareness of the experiences offered here.


Disadvantaged/non disadvantaged gap to be <0.20, with both values being positive.

Increase of 15% in proportion disadvantaged students enrolling for 6th form (≤ 55%)

T&L reports demonstrate that positive discrimination strategies are firmly embedded across the school






The gap between PP and non PP will be addressed and reduced in English and Maths.




All those in the disadvantaged cohort will be appropriately guided and supported onto the right pathways.

A higher number of disadvantaged students will have achieved places at elite/Russell Group Universities.



The disadvantaged within this cohort and indeed the whole cohort will have improved their literacy as a result of working through this scheme.



The Mathematics department, through careful targeting and accurate testing will support the least able and most disadvantaged through this approach and as a result will decrease the gap between the progress of the non PP and PP.



Cultural Capital will have been embedded and Senior Link meetings will show evidence of this.





Students will have completed their learning journey for their relevant year group and have discussed their progress with their Form Tutor.