A Birmingham school has been named one of the top in the country after helping boost the academic success of its disadvantaged pupils.
Parkfield Community School, in Saltley, has clinched a prize of £100,000 from the Department for Education after becoming one of four schools in England to win the Pupil Premium Awards.
The gongs are aimed at celebrating the schools that have best used pupil premium funding – cash given to schools to boost the education of pupils from disadvantaged homes who are entitled to free school meals.
The school, where 40 per cent of its pupils are entitled to pupil premium funding, beat off competition from 62 finalists to be crowned one of the country’s best schools.
Last year 82 per cent of its disadvantaged 11-year-olds achieved an above average level of reading, compared to a national average of 53 per cent of none pupil premium funded children.
Parkfield headteacher Hazel Pulley said the school had used pupil premium funding to help teachers research the barriers facing pupils from disadvantaged homes, before hiring a “leader” to implement solutions to the problems.
Pupils without access to the internet at home started morning and after-school clubs, spending the time on the computer to boost their maths skills.
Cash has also been used to buy iPads and Kindles to “bridge the digital divide” and to boost pupils reading – with boys being targeted in particular.
The school also set up a counselling service called Malachi to help pupils’ emotional well-being, while cultural issues were tackled through working with charity Mosaic to inspire girls to academic success.
Alastair Falk, chief executive of the Birmingham Education Partnership, said: “We are truly excited by the government’s decision to share this excellent best practice more widely.”
Schools Minister David Laws said he was “proud” of all Parkfield had achieved.
“These awards will raise aspirations by identifying the most innovative and effective use of the pupil premium in raising attainment,” he added. “I hope all schools will learn from these excellent examples, so we can continue the vital progress we have made towards closing the attainment gap.
“The pupil premium is helping to build a fairer society for all, giving teachers the resources they need to ensure all pupils get the best possible start in life and can go on to achieve their full potential.”