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Derbyshire Virtual School – National Pupil Premium Plus Runner Up

posted Aug 29, 2017, 4:44 PM by Jane Pickthall

We were so impressed to hear about Derbyshire's success at the Pupil Premium Awards we asked their VSH to tell us all about it...

A Guest Blog by Kim Brooks, VSH Derbyshire

The 2017 National Pupil Premium Awards had a new category this year – Pupil Premium Plus – for children in or previously in care. These awards recognised and celebrated the achievements of schools in using the pupil premium to make a difference to the lives of disadvantaged pupils.

Derbyshire Virtual School submitted an application based on two of its very innovative programmes. The first our Attachment Aware Schools Programme, the second our Creative Mentoring programme.    We were delighted to be selected as finalists for this very prestigious award so on 29th June members of the Virtual School team along with a Service Director and an Elected Member attended the ceremony.

The awards presented at a reception at the Houses of Parliament overlooking the Thames was packed with nominees from around the country and was opened by the new minister for children and families Robert Goodwill. He praised the nominees, saying, “The work you are doing in your schools is exceptional, it demonstrates that when used innovatively and effectively, the pupil premium can transform the lives of disadvantaged pupils”.

Rob Grimshaw, chief executive of the Times Educational Supplement also said, “You’ve all demonstrated innovative use of pupil premium funding to directly support pupils who need most help”.

The work Derbyshire Virtual school is doing with our Derbyshire schools  is truly innovative and we are seeing amazing results through both the individualised use of Pupil Premium Plus and through our  Attachment programme with schools. Whilst we were pipped at the post by an Academy in Wigan who were the National Winner, Derbyshire Virtual School was Pupil Premium Plus National Runner Up – and we have a framed certificate that says so!

It was a great achievement for the team not only to be shortlisted but to be finalists. The feedback from the judging panel that, “Derbyshire were a strong second. Their approach to developing attachment aware practice across the county is particularly strong. We saw very considerable strategic commitment based on an understanding in depth of the needs of children and highly effective and embedded delivery. The extent to which schools and other partners have committed to the approach is testament to a skilled operational implementation. This is a Virtual School that really understands its corporate parenting role and matches it with impressive and innovative practice.”

The DfE commented that ,”it was the first year that we’ve had a Pupil Premium Plus category and while we were really happy with the quantity and quality of applications, we will think about how we can improve the category for next time, perhaps by having separate sub-categories for schools and for virtual schools. We’ll also try and work with NAVSH at an earlier stage to get a little more publicity for the Awards before we open up for applications”.

For more information please contact Kim Brooks, Virtual School Headteacher on