Descriptions of the main themes and topics that our speakers intend to cover in their sessions are outlined below to assist you in gaining a strong overview of the conference and to help you choose the workshop sessions that best suit your needs and areas of interest:

Luke Bramhall, CROSS-PHASE, Keynote 1

What is life like in your school for children living in poverty? What are their experiences of a typical school day? And what are the barriers to their learning, wellbeing and engagement? It is likely that there are practices – from small things to school-wide policies – that combine to create barriers to learning for disadvantaged children in your school.

The work of the charity Children North East and its Poverty Proofing the School Day programme has shone a light on the many well-meaning practices in schools that can in fact damage self-esteem and lead to disengagement, pastoral problems or low self-esteem and confidence. The mission of Poverty Proofing the School Day is that no activity or planned activity in school should identify, exclude, treat differently or make assumptions about those children whose household income or resources are lower than others.

This session will look at the audits that the charity has carried out in schools across the North East and beyond, and the lessons they have learned about the often-hidden barriers to achievement. Some issues are well understood, such as uniform policies, free school meals stigma, and extra-curricular activities. But many of these barriers are small, unplanned and planned practices that can easily be addressed, leading to better attendance, engagement and outcomes from Pupil Premium students.

This session will discuss the range of issues that the charity has uncovered during its work over the past six years, explaining how it has worked with schools to poverty proof the school day and giving delegates the chance to self-evaluate practice in their own schools to see where changes may need to be made.


Matt Bromley, CROSS-PHASE, Keynote 2

One in four children in the UK grows up in poverty and the attainment gap between rich and poor is detectable at an early age. In 2011, the coalition government introduced the Pupil Premium to close the gap. However, its success has been limited because PP eligibility is a poor proxy for educational and social disadvantage and PP children are not a homogenous group. What’s more, closing the gap is more difficult for some schools because the size of the ‘gap’ is dependent on the non-PP demographic. So, what can we do about it?

Although the PP is flawed, it is vital schools continue to work hard to level the playing field. On average, 40% of the overall gap between disadvantaged 16-year-olds and their peers has already emerged by the age of five. These gaps are particularly pronounced in language and literacy. As such, the PP should – at all ages – be spent on improving children’s literacy and language skills so they can access the curriculum. This keynote will explain how and will offer a range of ideas for interventions & strategies for both primary and secondary phases.


Daniel Sobel, PRIMARY, Workshop 1A

In this workshop, inclusion expert and Headteacher Update author Daniel Sobel will offer practical advice aimed at Pupil Premium coordinators and senior school leaders about how to overcome the seemingly intractable narrowing the gap challenges with students who have multiple issues. He will discuss lessons of what works – and what doesn’t – from his experience of working with many hundreds of schools. The workshop will include: common themes of problems with students with stubborn gaps – how and why they exist; how schools generally do not do well with this cohort despite lots of time, money and effort; simple and effective solutions that work and can be applied in most settings; a practical planning session with delegates offering some very specific steps to trial in your school.


Paul Jordan and Claire Smith , PRIMARY, Workshop 1B

Many of the notable gaps in education are already apparent when a child enters formal schooling. This makes work Pupil Premium work in the early years, reception and infants phases vital – and a key to success is strong relationships with parents and carers.

Disadvantaged children achieve just as well as their non-disadvantaged peers by the end of KS1 at Thames View Infants Academy. Located within the most deprived ward of the 10th most deprived local authority nationally, attainment at the end of KS1 is within the top 3% of schools nationally at EXP (top 1% of schools at GD).

This workshop examines to what extent parental engagement is a contributory factor to this success and considers any other underlying factors. It will include examples of parent engagement work – both with hard-to-reach parents and those keen to get involved – the challenges and the impact. A key focus will be issues surrounding attendance, branding, the careful use of social media, SEN/inclusion and customer service. For additional resources see and for follow-up support,


Helen Everitt and Ryan Sallows, SECONDARY, Workshop 1C

In this workshop, delegates will hear about a number of Pupil Premium interventions at Oriel High School in Crawley (15% Pupil Premium). This will include subject-specific intervention across the core subjects and details of other specific interventions the school uses. Deputy Headteacher Helen Everitt and SBM Ryan Sallows will also present a general overview of the school’s PP work, which will include a specific focus on practical, real examples and transferable ideas – giving delegates something to take away with them and adapt/try in their own school settings. The workshop will also discuss those interventions which have not worked as well and how the school handled these. The school is happy to share its resources with delegates who may be interested.


Pete Nicholls, SECONDARY, Workshop 1D

At the core of any school’s Pupil Premium strategy must be high quality teaching and learning. This has been a key focus for Wright Robinson College in Manchester (58% Pupil Premium) for the past few years. In this workshop, assistant head Pete Nicholls will discuss the various strategies the school has employed to achieve high quality first teaching across the core/EBacc subjects at the school. This includes a move away from Pupil Premium “add-ons” in a bid to ensure that all pupils, including those who are disadvantaged, benefits from high quality provision. Pete will also discuss the school’s focus on progress over time and the key role this played in their recent work. The workshop will ultimately seek to offer practical advice for other schools on the lessons learned at Wright Robinson, including strategies that worked, those that didn’t and how the successful approaches might be adapted for other contexts.


Jo Moody and Liam Muir, PRIMARY, Workshop 1E

At Eldon Grove Academy (28.5% Pupil Premium) two core Pupil Premium strategies have focused on improving literacy skills and raising young people's aspirations. In this workshop, Liam Muir and Jo Moody will discuss their respective work across these areas, offering practical insights into the approaches that have proved effective and the challenges they have overcome.

Liam will discuss his work focused on raising aspirations and developing mindset. With a strong passion in raising aspirations across the town of Hartlepool, Liam has forged links with local universities, colleges, charities and businesses in order to provide children at the school with endless opportunities. Through his Raising Aspirations Programme, Liam is working on creating a thread which will run from primary through to secondary school and into further education. Consequently, this will smooth transition across the stages of education to ensure focused ambition and career goals.

Jo will take delegates through his work to improve standards in English with a focus on reading and the use of ICT. This includes a move to a whole-class reading approach and interventions to increase attainment for disadvantaged pupils. Jo will discuss how the new approaches have been implemented, including using digital platforms. This will include the development of and support for literacy teaching to ensure that all children, including disadvantaged children, make expected progress or greater. The workshop will look at how these new approaches have been implemented with staff and pupils and how you might be able to adapt these approaches to help improve reading and achieve PP goals in your school.


Stephen Holden, PRIMARY, Workshop 2A

Does the senior leadership team in your primary school create the right ethos and culture to enable staff to go above and beyond to support Pupil Premium students? This session will help delegates to self-evaluate their school’s approach to the leadership of Pupil Premium planning and delivery. It will be led by head Stephen Holden, who has driven the turnaround of Tottington Primary School (19 per cent Pupil Premium) over the past six years by creating a culture of innovation and trust, in which confident staff have autonomy and can take risks to find the best approaches to support their pupils. Focusing on some of the school’s core PP strategies, including targeted interventions, Stephen will discuss the key steps that has created this culture in his school and which aspects other schools could adopt.


Helen P Frostick, PRIMARY, Workshop 2B

This workshop will describe a range of practical interventions and strategies focused on specific areas of Pupil Premium spending, including to support progress in the core subjects. These will be approaches that have proved successful at St Mary Magdalen's Catholic Primary School (8% Pupil Premium), and the workshop will describe why and how each intervention worked. It will also include details on interventions that did not prove as successful, looking at how these were evaluated, why they did not work, and what the school did to learn lessons and change their approaches.


David Buchan and Sean Harris, CROSS-PHASE, Workshop 2C

Links between cycling and the personal development and wellbeing of children are well documented and schools in the North East of England have been seeing positive outcomes for some of their Pupil Premium students thanks to a focus on cycling. Working with charity Bike4Health and Cycling UK, these schools have used cycling to engage pupils, develop a range of wider skills and character traits, and to link in to subjects across the curriculum. This workshop will look at how these projects worked and how you might be able to adapt some of these approaches in your schools to help meet your Pupil Premium goals. It will include case studies from both a secondary and a primary school. Representatives from two case study schools (one primary and one secondary) will be in the workshop to discuss the impact this work has had in their schools.


Daniel Sobel, SECONDARY, Workshop 2D

In this workshop, inclusion expert and SecEd author Daniel Sobel will offer practical advice aimed at Pupil Premium coordinators and senior school leaders about how to overcome the seemingly intractable narrowing the gap challenges with students who have multiple issues. He will discuss lessons of what works – and what doesn’t – from his experience of working with many hundreds of schools. The workshop will include: common themes of problems with students with stubborn gaps – how and why they exist; how schools generally do not do well with this cohort despite lots of time, money and effort; simple and effective solutions that work and can be applied in most settings; a practical planning session with delegates offering some very specific steps to trial in your school.


Steven Baker, CROSS-PHASE, Workshop 2E

Steve Baker, a former Ofsted inspector, currently leads two outstanding schools in Merseyside for children with social, emotional and mental health difficulties spanning key stages 1 to 4. In this workshop he will offer practical ideas and advice for mainstream schools focused on using non-confrontational approaches to modify behaviour and support wellbeing for all. He will discuss why traditional methods of discipline and punishment do more harm than good for many PP students. The workshop will include an introduction to the triune brain theory and reptilian behaviour, the impact of threat on behaviour and wellbeing, the importance of having a whole school focus on mental health & strategies to promote emotional wellbeing, and theories of learning, emotion and neuroplasticity.


Dr Paulette Osborne MBE, PRIMARY, Workshop 3A

St Matthews CE Primary School in Birmingham has 86 per cent Pupil Premium and 85 per cent EAL. At the heart of the school’s Pupil Premium work is a focus on a knowledge-rich curriculum that sees it perform in the top 10 per cent of schools nationally. Also vital to its offer are enrichment activities and wider experiences to help pupils develop essential cultural capital – not least by building the vocabulary and life experiences that so many disadvantaged pupils can lack. In this workshop, Dr Paulette Osborne MBE – a certified Pupil Premium reviewer – will offer practical insights into their various strands of Pupil Premium work and activities, considering what has worked well, areas of challenge, and what strategies might work well in other settings.


Julie Johnson, PRIMARY, Workshop 3B

In this workshop, expert Julie Johnson will discuss the new 'designated teacher statutory guidance for looked-after children and previously looked after children' (Pupil Premium Plus) and offer practical advice on the implications for schools and for the role of the designated teacher. She will also discuss Education Plans for Adopted Children (EPACs) and Personal Education Plans (PEPs) as a way of providing evidence of progress, giving practical examples of children and possible interventions. Julie will discuss good whole-school practice regarding spending and evaluating the Pupil Premium Plus and will signpost to useful resources throughout the workshop.


Nicola Marshall, CROSS-PHASE, Workshop 3C

Nicola Marshall has dedicated her working life to helping and supporting those working with vulnerable children – whether they are looked after, adopted or in challenging home environments. Her work has clear links to Pupil Premium work in schools. In this workshop, Nicola will discuss the three Ps of creating an effective culture in your school to support your most vulnerable Pupil Premium students. This includes a culture of attachment awareness and inclusion. The three Ps are the policies you have in place, the practices that are centred around these students, and the people you have in key roles and how they meet the immediate needs of vulnerable students. The workshop will offer practical advice across these three broad areas.


Ben Morgan, SECONDARY, Workshop 3D

In this workshop, Ben Morgan, Vice Principal at Burton Borough School in Shropshire (22% Pupil Premium), will focus on issues relating to behaviour and inclusion in the context of Pupil Premium students. The school prides itself on its inclusive education, including its approaches to behaviour and pastoral support – all of which have a particular impact for Pupil Premium students. This includes the introduction of a Reflection Centre and a focus on emotional and mental health. In this workshop, Mr Morgan will explain the school’s work and the reasoning behind their approaches. He will seek to share practical ideas and strategies with colleagues while also encouraging you to reflect on the Pupil Premium approaches used in your own schools. Ensuring value for money for your Pupil Premium will also be a key feature of the discussions.