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The Chair welcomed the guests to the Committee. A video from the Kent Service Children's Voice Conference on 19 June 2017, highlighting the experiences of service children, was shown to the Committee.
Q – In the video, one of the children stated that they had attended ten schools. What impact does moving school have on service children?
Angela stated that she currently had a Year 2 pupil who was in their fourth school. She noted that there had been lots of psychological research on the impact to service children who often experienced a period of shutdown. The impact often depended on how long the children knew in advance about the move and how the situation was handled by the parents. She highlighted that sometimes children knew 12 – 18 months about a potential move whilst some were given the minimum notice period of six weeks. Deby explained that it also depended on the child’s character; some children were more adaptable whilst others would find the transition distressing.
Deby highlighted a visit to Brunei to talk to service children and their families about life in Kent and the UK prior to their deployment. She had anticipated that it would be difficult to ‘sell’ life in Kent but as part of the visit, they had discovered that opportunities for children were limited in Brunei; by moving to the UK service children would be able to access lots of opportunities such as visits to the coastal parks, Canterbury and London.
Q – As Headteachers of Guston and Cheriton Primary Schools, do you work closely together?
Deby explained that Cheriton Primary School was close to the Shorncliffe Garrison, Folkestone and Guston Primary School was located next to the, now demolished, Connaught Barracks, Dover where Service Families Accommodation (SFA) was located. The SFA served the Shorncliffe Garrison so a half of the Guston Primary School’s students were service children. She confirmed that both schools worked closely together.
Q – What do you spend your Service Pupil Premium on?
Angela explained that the Service Pupil Premium had been implemented to mitigate against the impact of deployment and mobility on service children. It had been introduced at the height of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq alongside the military covenant. The Service Pupil Premium was £300 per child and was not linked to attainment. Angela stated she was a member of the National Executive Committee for Service Children in State Schools; she reported that the Service Pupil Premium could change in the future.
Angela stated that 100, out of 500 children who attended Cheriton, received the Service Pupil Premium. The money was used to pay for extra support staff including seven Nepalese speakers and twelve days of educational psychologist services which was the same amount used by a secondary school. She had also used the money on a particular occasion to buy books and toys for children whose possessions had been ruined in transit.
Deby noted that 50% of the Guston student population consisted of service children, ... view the full minutes text for item 8.
1. The Chairman welcomed the Select Committee Members and James Turner, Deputy Chief Executive, Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), to the Select Committee meeting and she invited all those present to introduce themselves.
2. Mr Turner considered that there were three roles his Foundation had in the way that Pupil Premium funding was spent, these were:
a. By making academic research readily available, accessible and all in one place
b. By generating evidence and filling gaps in knowledge
c. By disseminating information and ensuring this had an impact in schools.
3. Q: do schools pay for the service of EEF?
A: no, the guidance and resources were free for schools to use. The EEF was set up in 2010/11 by the coalition government; it was an independent charity which also received charitable income funds. The EEF also ran projects which were subsidised but schools were usually asked to pay a contribution to projects.
4. The EEF had a social mobility and education equality agenda, it was set up particularly to raise the attainment of those on Pupil Premium to give young people the best academic start in life as well as focusing on non-academic progress.
5. EEF worked to build up an evidence base of knowledge as a tool to raise attainment and to focus limited resources and effort. It was important to know where and how funding was spent in schools.
6. Q: is enough good practice being shared?
A: James Turner explained that the landscape was changing all the time, how good practice was shared was more complicated today than it was in the past, some of the suggested practices were low or no cost and it was necessary to work across the whole class as well as targeting some pupils if they were falling behind their peers.
7. A Member referred to ‘effective feedback’ within the toolkit, in her experience teachers were told to change their feedback regularly, it was a very top down approach and this was difficult and often not cost effective. James Turner stated that the toolkit was intended as a gateway to the evidence: there were numerous ways of implementing effective feedback but for policies such as triple marking for example there was no evidence that this was successful. The toolkit was designed for schools to discuss and to determine how it could work best in each school. Rather than adding to the teacher burden, it was meant to reduce it.
8. Q: is there any evidence for effective feedback success stories with Pupil Premium children?
A: it was very difficult to monitor how well effective feedback was working, teachers needed resources and continuing professional development to ensure effective working.
9. Q: referring to the support through the transition years, particularly primary to secondary it was understood that there was less engagement at secondary than in primary and what more could KCC do to try to encourage assistance during transition, perhaps through the Kent Association of Head Teachers?
A: James Turner offered to circulate ... view the full minutes text for item 9.