Every year the Welsh Government provides additional funding to schools to support pupils on Free School Meals or who are in the care of the Local Authority. For this year only the amount of money received per pupil has doubled. It is really important that parents apply for Free School Meals for their children if they believe they may be eligible. You can find more information here. As well as paying for a meal at lunchtime it means the school can also provide a uniform grant and additional support.
Y Pant is supporting pupils eligible for Free School Meals this year using the following strategies:
The homework club set up this year is intended to support any pupil who would like a quiet space to complete their homework after school. Access is not restricted in any way and pupils are encouraged to come with their friends. A teacher is on hand to help with the homework and pupils can use the computers and print their work in colour. A snack and drink is provided as well. The homework club runs from 3 to 4pm on Tuesdays.
Out of Hours Transport
As well as homework club, other academic activities take place after school for pupils in years 10 and 11. Many of our pupils live in areas such as Brynna, Llanharan and Llanharry and rely on the school bus to get home. On Tuesdays the school mini bus leaves school at 4pm and drops pupils off in these areas. Spaces must be reserved via reception in the morning allowing pupils to make other arrangements if the bus is full. In that instance, priority will be given to pupils on Free School Meals.
The conversation class teachers have with parents at Parents Evening is one of the most important ways in which parents can support their child’s education. We recognise that getting to Y Pant from areas such as Brynna, Llanharan and Llanharry in the evenings is not always easy if you don’t have a car. Therefore, we provide a mini-bus service from and to those areas for parents evenings on request. Please contact the school if you would like to use this service.
Providing Basic Equipment to Pupils
This is being distributed as packs to Year 7 pupils and via form tutors and class teachers for other year groups on as as-needs basis. In addition pupils in Key Stage 4 and 5 can have equipment provided for their specialist option subjects free of charge. This includes (but is not limited to): ingredients for cooking, materials for DT and Art, books for English and other subjects and specialist clothing for other subjects. Family income should not be a factor in a pupils’ choice of option subject for GCSE and A-level.
Funding for School Trips
We want to ensure that all pupils are able to access the educational visits that are put on each year. Day trips for educational purposes will be funded for pupils eligible for Free School Meals provided that pupil is in the target group for the trip. We are able to make a contribution towards some educational residential visits on a discretionary basis.
Peripatetic Music Lessons
As the Local Authority is no longer able to provide peripatetic music lessons free of charge, we have to charge parents for this service. We want to make sure that pupils eligible for Free School Meals who are keen musicians have the same opportunity so these lessons are provided for those pupils on a discretionary basis.
We consider the work experience programme provided for pupils in Year 10 to be vitally important in terms of finding out about different careers and giving pupils the aspiration for a successful life after school. As Careers Wales are no longer able to manage and allocate work experience placements for all pupils, the responsibility has shifted to schools and the parents to arrange placements. We have a large database of local employers who have offered work placements to our pupils in the past and try to match pupils up with placements if parents are unable to find something suitable. In addition, we also provide transport, clothing, equipment and money for lunch for pupils in receipt of Free School Meals on a discretionary basis.
Every year we plan some special events aimed at, but not exclusively for, children eligible for Free School Meals in Key Stage 3 and in our primary feeder schools. More information will be provided in due course.
Training for Staff
Research has shown that one of the most effective ways of improving the educational outcomes of pupils eligible for Free School Meals is to improve the quality of classroom teaching. We are already immensely proud of the teaching and learning support staff at Y Pant but are never complacent. Every year teachers attend external training courses aimed at specific interventions or innovations and we also have a comprehensive INSET (in service education and training) programme for all staff.
We have a number of interventions for pupils in the school mainly around literacy and numeracy. Most are for the benefit of the pupils who need this intervention academically. Some however are also aimed specifically at pupils eligible for Free School Meals.
Tracking and Monitoring
One key strategy is to track and monitor the progress of all students, including a specific focus on students in receipt of Free School Meals. This enables us to ensure that the correct interventions are put in place as and when needed.
Alternative Education Provision
Unfortunately, full-time, formal education is not always suitable for a pupil. Under these circumstances other, ad-hoc interventions are put in place to ensure that a pupil continues to receive as inclusive an education as possible under the circumstances.
We are aware that many pupils are not eligible for Free School Meals but that families still struggle to pay for the extras surrounding education such as trips and equipment. Whilst we try to help out where possible, the criteria for spending any grant money from the Welsh Government are fairly strict. Eligibility for Free School Meals is the only means-testing available to us. Please get in touch if you have any questions.