North West schools win
£50,000 for helping disadvantaged pupils
6 schools across the North West have
been awarded individual prizes worth up to £50,000 in the 2015 Pupil
Premium Awards, in recognition of their success in improving the attainment of
their most disadvantaged pupils.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg handed out prizes and congratulated the four
national winners and 62 finalists, runners up and high aspiration award winners
from across the country on their innovative and effective use of the pupil
The awards ceremony, held in London, provided an opportunity to reward and
recognise the schools doing the most to raise attainment and close the
attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers as well as to
showcase examples of the most effective practice which other schools can learn
The schools across the North West which received prizes are:-
► Oakfield High School, Wigan, which has won £50,000 as a national finalist in
the special school and alternative provision category.
► Liscard Primary School, Wirral, which has won £50,000 as a regional finalist
in the primary school category.
► King David School, Wavertree, Liverpool, which has won £50,000 as a regional
finalist in the secondary school category.
► Claremont Primary School, Salford, which has won £25,000 as a regional
finalist in the primary school category.
► St Bede's Catholic High School, Blackburn, which has won £10,000 as a regional
runner up in the secondary school category.
► Lower Kersal Community Primary School, Salford, which has won £5,000 as a
regional runner up in the primary school category.
The Deputy Prime Minister said:- "It is a huge injustice that in 21st
century Britain a child's success or failure is often determined by their
parents' income or social class.
That's why the Pupil Premium is so important. This year alone we have provided
£2.5 billion of funding to help almost 2 million youngsters go further. And we
are seeing results. If all Pupil Premium schools did as well as the very best, I
hope we can see the attainment gap closed in the next decade.
This has been one of my proudest achievements in government and all of this
year's finalists are shining examples of how much can be achieved. Through
initiatives like these we can together build a fairer society for all, where
every child's achievement is determined by ability and not by the circumstances
of their birth."
The pupil premium - extra funding which schools receive to support their
disadvantaged pupils - is worth £2.5bn this year alone. Recent results show the
positive impact which the pupil premium has had in raising the attainment of
disadvantaged pupils and closing the attainment gap.
Pupil premium primary children achieved their best ever results this year, and
the new attainment gap index shows that the real attainment gap is narrowing at
both primary and secondary levels.
Thousands of pupils in almost 600 schools across the country will benefit as a
result of this year's awards, which recognise the schools which are using their
pupil premium in the most innovative and effective ways.
The Pupil Premium Awards reward schools which are able to provide evidence of
effective strategies to improve the achievement of disadvantaged pupils and show
sustained improvement in raising their attainment.
Schools Minister David Laws said:- "I am proud to congratulate the winners
of this year's Pupil Premium Awards, which recognise and reward our excellent
schools and teachers who are making a real difference to the lives of
The Pupil Premium Awards will raise aspirations by identifying the most
innovative and effective use of the pupil premium in raising attainment. 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."
Up to £4 million of prize money will also be awarded in the 2016 awards and
schools are being encouraged to act now to review what they are doing in their
school and ensure they are using the pupil premium effectively; using tools
such as the evidence based Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) toolkit or by
undertaking a pupil premium review.
Merseyside bucks national
trend as magpie climbs to the top of the table in RSPB's Big Schools' Birdwatch
RESULTS of the RSPB's Big Schools' Birdwatch revealed; the world's largest school wildlife survey. While
blackbirds are once again found to be the most spotted species in playgrounds
across the UK, this is not the case in Merseyside, where magpies have stolen the
89% of schools that took part nationally in the Big Schools' Birdwatch survey
reported seeing blackbirds, with an average of 7 birds seen per school, which is
a significant a jump from last year's figures which averaged 5 of these
songbirds per playground. In Merseyside, blackbirds did climb up the sightings
table from 8th to 3rd position, with an average of 4 per playground. However, it
was the magpie which took the top spot, with an average of 5 per playground.
While starlings held onto the number 2 spot nationally, they fell 2 places in
Merseyside to 5th position, with an average of 4 starlings seen per playground.
For the 1st time ever, house sparrows made the top 3 nationally, jumping 2
places from 5th position last year. House sparrows were spotted at more than
½ of all schools; the average counted during the hour long survey was 4. In
Merseyside, house sparrows climbed to 9th position, with an average of 3 spotted
More than 1,000 people in Merseyside took part in the Big Schools' Birdwatch, in
which a record breaking 90,000 pupils and teachers counted the birds in their
school grounds for 1 hour of one day in the 1st ½ of Spring Term, 5 January
2015 to 13 February 2015. The survey is part of RSPB's annual Big Garden Birdwatch;
the biggest garden wildlife survey in the world; which continued the record
breaking theme, with over 585,000 people taking part in this citizen science
initiative over Birdwatch weekend, at the end of January 2015.
Big Schools' Birdwatch has been running for over a decade and helps to track
numbers of birds in school grounds, providing an insight into how species are
faring and inspiring children to give nature a home. Participating schools
received a certificate and a free wildlife poster once they completed the
activity and sent in their results.
Emma Reed, the RSPB's Education Officer for Northern England, said:- "It's
fantastic to see so many children and teachers taking part in Big Schools' Birdwatch, and seeing the results from this year's bumper survey gives us
further insight into helping our feathered friends thrive.
The Birdwatch is a fun, interactive and educational activity which not only
enthuses children about wildlife, but supports the curriculum and encourages
them to help us give nature a home for future generations to enjoy."
The bird with the most significant change in the national rankings is the song
thrush, which rose from 24th to 21st place. Just over 600 song thrushes were
recorded last year, contrasting to over 1,400 this year; a welcome increase as
song thrushes are a bird of conservation concern, with numbers dropping by 70%
since the Big Garden Birdwatch began. Reflecting the Big Garden Birdwatch
results, chaffinches and goldfinches have taken a dip in school grounds too,
however greenfinches appear to be an exception to the rule by jumping up by one
position into the 24th spot nationally.
There is better news for the house sparrow, as its long term decline appears to
have continued to slow. However, it remains a species of conservation concern as
overall numbers have dropped by 57% since 1979 according to Big Garden Birdwatch
Overall, average numbers of birds spotted appear to be substantially up this
year; but experts believe this is more likely to be because of the colder
weather we experienced around the period of the survey compared to last winter.
Numbers of birds in gardens, parks and school grounds also varies depending on
the availability of a range of natural food sources. The dip in the number of
finch sightings this year could indicate a plentiful supply of seeds in the
wider countryside following a good summer, meaning that species such as finches
are less reliant on bird feeders.
This survey is a part of the RSPB's Giving Nature a Home campaign, aimed at
tackling the housing crisis facing the UK's threatened wildlife.
The charity is
asking people to provide a place for wildlife in their own gardens and outside
spaces; whether it's putting up a nest box for birds, creating a pond to
support a variety of different wildlife or building a home for a hedgehog.
To find out how you can give nature a home where you live visit:-