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:

MORNING KEYNOTE: Cost of the School Day: Removing the barriers to education for children in poverty
SPEAKER: Georgina Burt

With more than 4.3 million children in the UK growing up in poverty, understanding how this impacts on children’s experience at school is essential. The UK Cost of the School Day project, run by Child Poverty Action Group and Children North East, is working with schools and pupils in order to gain an understanding of the financial barriers pupils face with regard to participation at school. Based on the collaborative work undertaken with school communities this keynote session will explore how policies and practices in schools can pose barriers for low-income pupils and what schools can do to promote inclusion. Starting with an exploration of how child poverty is defined and the current national context, delegates will consider the links between poverty and education and the ways in which a whole school approach to tackling poverty can be implemented. The session will offer delegates practical ideas and best practice examples to use in their own classrooms and schools to help reduce the cost of the school day and make schools more inclusive for children from low-income families. It will provide an opportunity to discuss with other practitioners some of the challenges that lower-income families and children face in education, and explore potential solutions. This session is being delivered by Child Poverty Action Group who work on behalf of the more than one in four children in the UK growing up in poverty.


WORKSHOP 1A: PRIMARY: Pupil Premium Assessment, Evaluation, Reporting & Statements
SPEAKER: Jess Hawley

In this session for primary delegates, we will find out about how Markeaton Primary School evaluates and assesses the success and impact of its Pupil Premium interventions and approaches. Jess Hawley will discuss what evaluation processes are in place, how the school responds when interventions or strategies are not working, and what assessment criteria are in place. She will also discuss reporting Pupil Premium strategies and impact to key groups, such as parents, governors and Ofsted – including a look at the new Pupil Premium Strategy Statements.


WORKSHOP 1B: PRIMARY: A takeaway toolkit: Pupil Premium at Stalham Infant & Junior Schools
SPEAKERS: Glenn Russell

In this workshop Executive Headteacher Glenn Russell will give a practical overview of his schools' most effective Pupil Premium strategies, with a focus on how delegates can "pick up and use these ideas tomorrow". Based in Norfolk, Stalham Infant School (22% Pupil Premium) & Junior School (29% Pupil Premium) have put cooperative teaching at the heart of their pedagogy, with a particularly positive impact for disadvantaged pupils. Glenn will take us through the school's teaching and learning approaches and how they ensure consistency across classrooms and subjects, including their relentless focus on building vocabulary and communication skills. He will also touch upon subject leadership and curriculum design, including building in high expectations for all pupils, how the school supports its staff, including with resources and CPD, and the vital role played by the schools' ethos and culture.


WORKSHOP 1C: SECONDARY: Low-attaining, disadvantaged boys: Strategies, interventions and teaching approaches
SPEAKER: Ben Pearce

Raising achievement and attainment for disadvantaged boys is a priority area for many schools with clear links to Pupil Premium practice. In this workshop, we will find out about the strategies employed by City of Peterborough Academy, which has 43% Pupil Premium (although disadvantage affects many more pupils above and beyond those receiving the Pupil Premium Grant). Principal Ben Pearce will look at specific approaches including the surprising impact that an art therapy intervention has had. Other interventions that have proven successful include a Boxercise programme. Ben will also touch upon the school's teaching and learning approaches, including working with students to develop routines and good learning strategies and habits. Ben will discuss which approaches have worked and why and will be happy to discuss how these strategies might be adopted and adapted for delegates' schools.


WORKSHOP 1D: Moving forward not catching up: Supporting Covid recovery work
SPEAKERS: Helen Everitt & Ryan Sallows

Oriel High School (13% Pupil Premium) has banned phrases such as "catch up", "missed time", "behind", "lost learning" and the like. The focus instead is on the core purpose of ensuring quality first teaching and supporting teachers to respond to the needs of students. This is then enhanced by the bespoke support and opportunities the school provides for its Pupil Premium students (and others). This session will present a practical look at the school's ethos and approaches this year, including what has worked well and the lessons learned. The session will give an overview of Oriel’s Pupil Premium work, including a specific focus on practical, real examples and transferable ideas to adapt and adopt for your own school settings. The session will also describe how existing pre-Covid approaches have been adapted and enhanced to allow the school to keep students moving forward. The presenters will also describe a number of Pupil Premium interventions, including subject-specific interventions across the core subjects and interventions focusing on engagement and increasing student opportunities.


WORKSHOP 2A: PRIMARY: Supporting Covid recovery work for Pupil Premium students: Responding to what we are seeing
SPEAKER: Julie Norman

In this practical session, Julie Norman will consider what our continuing Covid recovery work should look like for Pupil Premium pupils during the summer term and beyond. She will discuss the approaches being deployed so far this academic year across the schools in which she works. Themes will include the use of baselining where the children are now, creating Pupil Premium Profiles, and therefore more targeted effective support. For Julie, schools must "respond to what they see in front of them" rather than taking a blanket approach. This means understanding children's barriers to education, their family circumstances, and their experiences during the pandemic. Julie will discuss how this can be achieved and how the evidence of what works can be tailored and personalised to provide the right support for each disadvantaged child. She will help delegates to audit their schools' work so far this year and plan next steps and action points for the summer term 2022 and the next academic year in September.


WORKSHOP 2B: CROSS-PHASE: No Quick Fixes: Avoiding transactional, shallow and interventionist approaches to the Pupil Premium
SPEAKERS: Jonathan Cordiner

Former headteacher Jonathan Cordiner will bring to the National Pupil Premium Conference a perspective on tackling the consequences of poverty from his work in Scotland – both as a school leader and now in his role as Quality Improvement Officer for Aberdeenshire Council. His focus will be avoiding an interventionist, "flash-in-the-pan" approach to this work. Instead he will work with colleagues in this workshop to discuss and plan how longer-term thinking can be placed at the heart of Pupil Premium strategy. He will bring with him some lessons from his experience of the PEF – Pupil Equity Funding – in Scotland, discussing how to change cultures rather than thinking about Pupil Premium work as a series of projects that have a start and end point. He will consider with colleagues the characteristics of long-term planned vs interventionist, transactional approaches and seek to help delegates "audit" their own school's Pupil Premium strategy in this regard. He will also discuss how more considered approaches to investments could actually help us to build a more empowered system as a whole.


WORKSHOP 2C: SECONDARY: The neurology of poverty: How being disadvantaged affects learning – and what we can do about it
SPEAKER: Sean Harris

In this session, Sean Harris, a doctoral researcher, teacher and regular SecEd and Headteacher Update author, will walkthrough recent research regarding poverty, neuroscience and how children learn. He will consider the shocking impact that living in poverty can have on the brains of our Pupil Premium students. The interactive workshop will help teachers to consider how this links to the science of learning, examining some of the ways that teachers and other colleagues can apply this learning to support disadvantaged children in educational settings. The workshop will also consider the implications of all this for teacher-education and CPD at all levels in their schools. Ultimately, Sean will focus on how teaching can help to eradicate barriers to learning for children living in poverty. Research geeks, learning geeks and non-geeks are all welcome!


WORKSHOP 2D: SECONDARY: Moving beyond labels: Converting the causes of disadvantage into consequences in the classroom
SPEAKER: Matt Bromley

Labels can be problematic. While they can be a useful shorthand to help report on generic attainment gaps at whole-school and national levels, and thus help to identify trends and to tackle endemic discrimination, problems arise when they are used by schools and teachers to determine expectations of what a child can – or more likely cannot – achieve, and to ascertain what additional support will therefore be provided. Further problems occur when labels are used to describe a cohort of pupils and thus stereotype children, masking significant individual differences within a cohort. There is no such thing, of course, as a typical ‘Pupil Premium child’. Put simply, there is a difference between causes (the labels) and consequences (what this means in practical terms for each child in each situation). To help the child in school, we need to convert the label into a consequence to better understand what the label means in practice. In this session, Matt Bromley will share strategies for converting the causes of socio-economic disadvantage into tangible consequences in the classroom. And he’ll offer practical solutions for helping pupils to overcome these challenges.


AFTERNOON KEYNOTE: Closing the word gap for disadvantaged children

There is compelling evidence that limited oral language skills play a key role in the underachievement of many disadvantaged pupils. The DfE’s model Pupil Premium example statements strongly suggest that schools need to include an oracy focus in their spending plans. But what strategies are likely to have most impact? In this keynote session, Jean Gross – the government's former Communication Champion and best-selling author – will describe practical steps can schools take to build spoken language skills. Showcasing effective approaches in schools across the country, she will summarise research on what helps children and young people develop breadth and depth of vocabulary and highlight the importance of three key factors: scaffolded opportunities for purposeful talk, explicit teaching of vocabulary and listening skills, and additional interventions for those that need them. The keynote will include: the links between spoken language, academic achievement, and wider life chances; how to create communication-supportive classroom and school environments; whole-class approaches to developing vocabulary and wider language skills; identifying and implementing ‘catch-up’ strategies for those with limited language; strategies for embedding an oracy focus across the school.


WORKSHOP 3A: PRIMARY: Pupil Premium after Covid: Supporting pupils' SEMH needs & the power to mentor 
SPEAKER: Emmanuel Awoyelu

There is a clear overlap between Pupil Premium and issues of mental health and wellbeing – something which has been exacerbated by Covid-19 lockdowns. In this practical session, school leader Emmanuel Awoyelu will discuss his experience and practice working with children who have Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs. He will consider what approaches can often work when supporting these children to overcome barriers to learning and school with a particular focus on mentoring . He will also discuss the implications and consequences of Covid-19 for these already-vulnerable young people and what primary schools can do. The session will suggest some Pupil Premium priorities for the coming months, looking at what the research says, and the impact Emmanuel has seen so far in his school.


WORKSHOP 3B:  PRIMARY: Tackling the common wellbeing and pastoral challenges facing Pupil Premium students
SPEAKER: Julia Kedwards

Many schools will be aware of the range of pastoral, wellbeing and related issues that can create barriers to learning and positive outcomes for Pupil Premium students. In this workshop, Grace Kelly, from St Bede’s Catholic High School (11.5% Pupil Premium) will discuss what practical steps her school takes to protect and promote the wellbeing of Pupil Premium and vulnerable students and how this links to improving Pupil Premium outcomes. She will touch upon intervention ideas and the common challenges they have to tackle. The session will include practical tips and guidance for strategies that have worked for them, the importance of developing resilience in ALL students (and examples of how), as well as information, study and research on the necessity to encourage the development of a Growth Mindset and the need for students to understand failure in order to achieve. The session will cover all Pupil Premium students, including those identified as SEND and gifted and talented. 


WORKSHOP 3C: SECONDARY: Oracy: How to develop the speaking and listening skills of Pupil Premium students
SPEAKER: Josephine Smith

How much attention do you give to speaking and listening skills in your secondary school? There’s lots of research about early years and primary language acquisition, but speaking and listening skills remain key to secondary aged students’ cognitive development and learning in school and to their preparation for participation in the wider world. Sadly, we know that our disadvantaged pupils can often have a deficit in oracy skills when compared to their peers – a deficit that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. So how should we set about explicitly teaching these crucial skills? In this workshop, Josephine Smith, headteacher at Kesteven and Sleaford High School (5% Pupil Premium) will take up where the Keynote session 2 leaves off - offering evidence of how promoting oracy can lead to both higher achievement and positive attitudes in your Key stage 3 and 4 Pupil Premium students. She will share some practical yet simple, low cost ways you can develop the quality of student talk in your secondary school and show you that you don’t need to be a linguistics expert, just a good school leader, to make oracy a "golden thread" that runs through your Pupil Premium students’ experience of education. This will be a session of sharing what's worked, signposting resources and discussing how purposeful talk can be both explicitly taught across subjects as well as enjoyed by Pupil Premium students and their peers.


WORKSHOP 3D: SECONDARY: The invisibles: How to stop high potential Pupil Premium students – especially girls – from going under the radar

This thought-provoking and practical workshop will look at how we can support high-potential Pupil Premium students, many of whom seem to be girls. Are your Pupil Premium girls reaching their potential? Do they miss out on your attention and support because your time and resources are so often taken up by other pupils whose needs are more urgent and who so often – although not always – seem to be boys? This workshop will look at strategies and interventions for high-potential PP students – especially girls – to ensure they achieve what they are capable of and are not forgotten about simply because they raise no red flags. Themes will include building confidence, addressing passivity in girls, boosting engagement, and addressing underperformance among others.


WORKSHOP 4A: CROSS-PHASE: Effective Formative Assessment: Tips, ideas and approaches
SPEAKER: Corinne Settle

Much of how we do what we do in the classroom is habitual. If we are to enhance the impact we have on our students – especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds – we must focus on improving these everyday behaviours to achieve marginal gains. Given the proven impact that effective formative assessment can have on pupil progress, in this session we will share our "lessons learned" from the Embedding Formative Assessment programme. We will look at how to select and implement professional development mechanisms that lead to lasting improved practice. We will consider how teachers can trial and refine formative assessment approaches and how learners can take responsibility for their own learning through peer and self-review techniques. You will hear from successful schools that have embarked on this journey and are making a difference to the learning, engagement, and progress of their learners, including those eligible for Pupil Premium funding. This workshop will give you access to tips, tools, and resources to secure and sustain excellent formative assessment in your classrooms and your schools.

WORKSHOP 4B: CROSS-PHASE: A Champion for Every Child: Pastoral tutoring to support the motivation, self-efficacy and progress of Pupil Premium students
SPEAKERS: David Linsell &  Kate Couldwell

As the Covid-19 pandemic struck, The Kemnal Academies Trust – which has 45 primary and secondary schools across the South and East of England – initiated A Champion for Every Child (ACE), a programme to provide Pupil Premium children with personalised 1:1 support to help them progress both in terms of academic outcomes and social and emotional development. The results have been transformational. So much so, that the programme is being maintained and expanded. Independent evaluation has shown positive outcomes in maths and reading as well as in areas such as motivation and self-efficacy. The evaluation also praised the support and CPD tutors received. This workshop will identify why the programme has worked and discuss the lessons learnt so far, with advice for other schools on how to adopt and adapt the ACE approach.

WORKSHOP 4C: CROSS-PHASE:  Empathy not sympathy: Why we must build connections with our students – and how to do it
SPEAKER: Steven Russell

"Drip by drip, day by day, never perfect and that’s okay." Steven Russell is the founder of Elements SEMH Support ( As a child, he lived with nine foster families, was placed into two children’s homes, and attended five schools. He now supports vulnerable children in schools via four "Elements" – physical health, environmental awareness, mental health, and social & communication skills. At the heart of his work is connection and empathy. In this session he will ask what connection means and why it is vital for all children, especially our most vulnerable, and how we can make these connections even stronger. He will discuss the barriers to connection that exist in schools, and what stops us from truly empathising (not just sympathising) with looked after and other vulnerable young people. Steven talks often about transforming pain to purpose and discovering what success means for each child. The workshop will draw upon aspects of his own Pain to Purpose journey and the “Let’s Connect” training programme for schools and other professionals.

WORKSHOP 4D: CROSS-PHASE: No Silver Bullets: Getting the basics right
Speaker: Paul Ainsworth

Quality first teaching. Attendance. Behaviour. Curriculum. Getting your practice right across these core areas will enable your Pupil Premium pupils to shine. In this session aimed at both primary and secondary colleagues, Paul K Ainsworth – author of No Silver Bullets: Day-in, day-out school improvement – will consider how you can apply day-in, day-out school improvement practices to boost quality first teaching, attendance, and behaviour in order to help disadvantaged pupils (and all pupils for that matter) to achieve. He will also touch upon how we design and deliver the curriculum – implementing a golden thread to your curriculum to help raise external outcomes for Pupil Premium students.