St Angela’s Ursuline is a Catholic mixed comprehensive - girls’ school (11-16) with a mixed Sixth Form


Three strands: to improve attainment of pupil premium (PP) students using tuition models; to improve teaching using the “Leverage Leadership” model; to develop literacy based on Geoff Barton’s research.

Background: The school’s mantra is “teaching and learning is literacy and literacy is teaching and learning”


Year 1

“Mind the gap” – the organisation and delivery of both 1:1 and group tuition had a far reaching impact on closing the gap between PP and non-PP pupils across all subjects as well as increasing teamwork, motivation, confidence, behaviour and participation levels.

Lesson observation - the use of Lemov and Bambrick Santoyo techniques proved very successful.

Literacy – the use of specific literacy objectives, e.g. the use of more formal language by students, was embedded.

Year 2

The attainment gap between PP and non-PP students persisted in Maths and English. Improving attendance at small group tuition remained an area for development; all strands of Key Stage 3 intervention were rebranded “Ahead of the game” to remove negativity.

Lesson observation - departments became over anxious and over focused on what was their “review week”, regarding them almost as stressful mini inspections, which in turn made the vital discussion about what was going on in the classroom both reductive and narrow.

Years 3 & 4

PP and non-PP - by the end of Year 7, the gap between PP and non-PP students in Year 7 in English was not significant and students in Maths made the expected progress. However the gap was still wide in Year 9 and it was decided to hire an external company “Team up” to deliver tuition on a Saturday morning. Other tuition involved the deputy head teaching English at a breakfast session and a Year 13 student giving Maths tuition. There was a new focus on SEND and non-SEND pupils.

Lessson Observation - instead of observations being conducted by line managers, staff were randomly allocated to a member of SLT, thus creating cross departmental teams.

More Able Students – student voice indicated a desire for “greater rigour”. Stephen Oakes & Martin Griffith’s book "The A Level Mindset" and Martin Stephens & Ian Warwick’s book "Educating the More Able Student" alongside the concept of "flipped learning" were instrumental in addressing this need.


Progress scores, pupil surveys


“Team up” was very effective in Year 7 but less so with Year 8. One-to-one tuition with Year 8 was the least successful intervention. The new system of organising lesson observations in SLT led teams worked well; 84% lessons were deemed to offer high challenge to all.


The project has undoubtedly helped our focus on very important aspects of school development. It was broad in its approach with three very detailed strands.


Fidelma Boyd,