Tackling the impact of deprivation on pupil attainment

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Hafod-y-Wern Primary School carefully manages and monitors the impact of deprivation on pupil attainment. As a result, the school has increased attendance, lowered exclusion rates, improved standards in key subjects and built positive working relationships with parents.

Information about the school

Hafod-y-Wern Primary School is in the Caia Park area of Wrexham.  The school provides education for 276 pupils between the ages of 3 and 11 years.  There are six single-age classes, three mixed age classes and a nursery class.  There is also a local authority resource class catering for pupils with specific learning needs.  Nearly 56% of pupils are eligible for free school meals.  This is considerably above the national and local authority averages.  There are about 25% of pupils as having additional learning needs.  A very few pupils have a statement of special educational needs.  Nearly all pupils come from English-speaking homes and very few speak English as an additional language.  No pupils indicate that they speak Welsh at home.  Very few pupils are looked after by the local authority.  

Context and background to sector-leading practice

The school needed to ensure that there were mechanisms in place to identify and monitor the impact of deprivation on pupil attainment.

Description of nature of strategy or activity

The school set up a ‘concern and action’ team.  The team consists of the educational social worker, parent support, pastoral support worker and headteacher.  The team invites the school nurse and attendance officer to meetings when required.  The ‘concern and action’ team meets once every two weeks.  As a school in an area of multiple deprivations, the group of professionals are involved in many meetings and activities during the school week.  It is essential that the ‘concern and action’ team meet every two weeks to share relevant information linked to meetings, incidents and activities.  During these meetings, the sharing of information often explains why some pupils and parents behave in a particular way.

As a school, we have developed a document that we have named the ‘Engagement Progression and Assessment matrix’.  This is a spreadsheet that uses the following headings to map the needs of the pupils:

  • attendance percentage
  • attendance authorised
  • attendance unauthorised
  • exclusions
  • additional needs level
  • Welsh national test standardised scores for English and numeracy
  • social service involvement, including child protection,
  • child in need
  • team around child
  • parent support involvement
  • free school meals
  • looked after children
  • English as an additional language

Staff allocates a score for each of the headings.  This score depends on its significance in terms of the well-being of the child.  For example, the child protection register will register a high mark.  The spreadsheet then ranks all pupils in order of need.  It is easy to update the spread sheet when new information comes to light or when circumstances change.

At the start of each term, staff use the document in the ‘concern and action’ meeting to identify the needs of individual pupils.  The team works through each individual class to ensure that they scrutinise all pupils in terms of possible needs.  The team then uses a class monitoring form with matching headings, and highlight the pupils’ specific needs as red, amber or green.  When staff recognise a particular level of need during the meeting, the team agrees on specific actions to support the pupil or family.  

From the meeting the following actions can take place

Support for the family:

  • inform teachers of any issues
  • contact the parents
  • support from social service
  • organise ‘team around the child’ meetings
  • arrange visit by educational social worker
  • arrange parent support visit/meeting
  • arrange pastoral support

Support for the child:

  • produce an individual education plan
  • produce an individual behaviour plan
  • arrange a teacher/parent and child meeting
  • arrange a parent support advisor to work the child
  • arrange 1:1 mentoring or group support with school pastoral support
  • arrange mentoring sessions within the local community
  • arrange counselling with in-house school counsellor
  • arrange a young carers group in school
  • arrange a student assist programme- SAP
  • arrange a fishing mentoring group

What impact has this work had on provision and learners’ standards?

Introducing and employing the parent support advisor and pastoral support worker in the school has had a huge impact.  There are now positive relationships with a large number of parents and carers within the school.  The parent support worker is able to engage with families at many levels and include the child’s wellbeing and educational attainment as part of small group activities.  A thriving group meets each week throughout the school year.  The relationship that the parent support advisor has built up with the parents enables the school to address a range of issues in a positive manner.

The pastoral support worker is able to work with vulnerable pupils to ensure that they are well prepared to work in a classroom environment to help resolve issues that may be influencing the pupils’ behaviour in school.  The pastoral support worker uses a wide range of intervention strategies and group activities well to develop confidence and address individual needs.  Early identification of need and specific intervention ensures that problems are less likely to escalate and affect the child’s attainment.

We have developed a fishing mentoring group and over the last six years, we have taught over 260 pupils to fish.  We have developed close links with the local coarse fishery that is owned by an ex-pupil of the school. We take groups of pupils fishing for one afternoon per week, over six weeks.  The headteacher, pastoral support worker and two governors use the sessions to engage pupils in the activity, teaching them the technical skills of fishing, taking part in an activity with members of the local community and to experience an outdoor activity.  We fish in all weathers throughout the whole of the year.  The group is selected from the concern and action meetings but also with all year six pupils taking part throughout the school year.  We hold the sessions every Friday afternoon.  This provides an incentive for the pupils to work hard and behave well through the week to ensure they keep their place on the course.  Many pupils have taken up fishing as a hobby outside of school. 


The attendance figure at the school for the last academic year is the highest we have had since the schools amalgamated in 2007.  

Fixed term exclusions:

The academic year of 2014/15 had no fixed term exclusions.  This is the first time since the schools amalgamated in 2007 that there have been no exclusions.


The end of key stage 2 standards in Maths, English and science for the academic year 2014/15 are the highest since the school amalgamated in 2007.  

How have you shared your good practice?

Good practice has been shared through our links with schools in Flintshire and within the local authority of Wrexham.