The quality of school furniture plays a vital role in creating a classroom environment where pupils can learn effectively. School furniture can be a significant investment, however, and when school budgets are already being squeezed from all directions, many find that purchasing furniture that boosts student achievement is not at the top of the priority list.
Many schools are having to think carefully about their budgets and are turning to alternative sources of funding to invest in essential items for their classrooms. As a vital source of additional funding for schools across England, pupil premium can be used in many different ways to create an engaging and supportive learning environment. This handy guide explains what pupil premium is and why your school could benefit from utilising it for new furniture.
What Is Pupil Premium?
Pupil premium was launched by the government in 2011 as an attempt to close the growing attainment gap after research proved that pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds historically have the poorest outcomes throughout their education. Yearly spending will increase to £2.9 billion by 2024, giving schools valuable funds to invest in the potential of children who might otherwise struggle.
The amount of funding an individual school can claim depends on the number of eligible pupils and the category they fall into, though the funding can be spent on school-wide initiatives as opposed to having to be spent on the individual pupil claimed for. Schools will typically receive pupil premium funding for children who are eligible for free school meals as well as those who are or have previously been looked after by the local authority.
How Can Schools Use Pupil Premium?
Schools can choose how they spend pupil premium funding, though their spending must broadly fit within three categories that include investment in teaching quality, targeted academic support and targeting non-academic barriers like attendance and behaviour. Generally, most schools find that a varied strategy that deploys investment across a wide range of areas is the most effective. Actions taken may include:
- Employing additional teaching assistants for pupils in need
- Funding resources and trips for children from disadvantaged backgrounds
- Investing in school furniture and classroom resources like laptops that promote a positive and productive learning environment
- Offering breakfast clubs to promote good attendance
- Free or subsidised extracurricular activities for families that cannot afford them
- Providing transport to children that may struggle to get to school on time
- Providing speech and language therapy or support
Regardless of how schools choose to utilise their pupil premium allowance, they must provide evidence of how they are using the funding and prove they have made an informed decision based on the needs of their student body. Strategy statement templates are provided by the Department for Education to help schools publish their pupil premium strategy.
Benefits Of Utilising Pupil Premium For School Furniture
Investing in school furniture with pupil premium can be a valuable investment, particularly when done in conjunction with other attendance-boosting initiatives that ensure children are in the classroom and in the right frame of mind to learn. How your school plans to create an engaging and supportive environment is up to you, but the right investment in school furniture will:
Show students you care
Well-maintained and visually appealing school furniture helps to show children that you care about their learning environment, instilling a sense of pride that will make them feel more inclined to learn effectively. Pupils will feel more motivated in a classroom environment that has obviously been designed with their needs in mind, boosting effort and attention levels.
School furniture that is old or unfit for purpose can be uncomfortable and demotivating, no matter how old your students are. By utilising pupil premium for furniture in your school, you can choose furniture that will allow students to concentrate properly and not feel irritated or uncomfortable. For example, well-adjusted desks and tables ensure that children sit properly and sensibly. Laying out your new furniture in an inventive way can also promote concentration in a variety of settings, including group work which can be a valuable way of bringing pupils from different backgrounds together to allow less able students to learn from others.
Help meet special educational needs
Many SEN children qualify for pupil premium and the grant received can go towards a valuable investment in their individual needs. Sensory resources for SEN pupils can be costly but have significant rewards, creating a safe space for children to develop physically and mentally. Choosing to utilise pupil premium in this way will ensure that pupils with all needs are given the tools needed to feel understood and stimulated at school, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds that do not have appropriate support at home.
Make long-term savings
While there will be many things that pupil premium could fund in your school and new school furniture requires a significant upfront cost, it is a long-term investment in learning. Durable and high-quality furniture can improve the classroom environment for multiple classes and will last for many years, saving money in the long run and having a positive impact on children in your school year after year. Much of the Cost Cutters range of school furniture comes with lengthy guarantees to give you total peace of mind that you have made a valuable investment in student achievement.
Improve posture and well-being
All students will struggle to learn if they are not comfortable or in the right frame of mind. Investing in the right school furniture with pupil premium can promote better posture and reduce discomfort or physical pain for students, allowing them to focus and concentrate on their learning. For example, chairs that promote good posture like Postura Plus Chairs will ensure that children from all backgrounds are sat correctly when in class, helping their well-being in class.
There are clear benefits to utilising pupil premium for school furniture. Furniture helps to create an engaging and supportive environment that enables children from all backgrounds and with ranging needs to learn effectively.
Cost Cutters UK can help you to make a valuable investment in furniture with pupil premium funding. We stock a huge range of school furniture that is comfortable, durable and inspiring. Get in touch with the expert team if you require any guidance or would like to discuss a bespoke solution for your school.