A WIGAN special school has won a very special prize.
Oakfield in Hindley Green was one of only six schools to win cheques for up to £50,000 in the Pupil Premium Awards in recognition of their success in improving attainment for disadvantaged pupils.
The awards were presented by outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at a special ceremony at the Draper’s Hall in London.
They are intended to reward and recognise the schools in the region doing the most to raise attainment and close the gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers.
And to showcase examples of the most effective practice which other schools can learn from.
Mr Clegg said: “It is a huge injustice that in 21st century Britain a child’s success or failure is often determined by their parents’ income or social class. That’s why the Pupil Premium is so important. If all Pupil Premium schools did as well as the very best, I hope we can see the attainment gap closed in the next decade.
“This has been one of my proudest achievements in government and all of this year’s finalists are shining examples of how much can be achieved. Through initiatives like these we can together build a fairer society for all, where every child’s achievement is determined by ability and not by the circumstances of their birth.”
Oakfield head Catherine Taylor said that the school had been put through a rigorous nomination process with DfE officers scrutinising the school’s processes.
Mrs Taylor said: “They have certainly seen what we’re about here at Oakfield.
“We’ve got a lot to be proud about in the way disadvantaged young people are being helped.”
Oakfield, which was the only northern school in the running, beat Queensmill School, Shepherd’s Bush, Belmont Special School, Cheltenham, CE Academy, Northampton and the Bridge AP Academy, Hammersmith and Fulham to the honour.
Up to £4m of prize money will also be awarded in the 2016 awards and schools are being encouraged to act now to review what they are doing in their school and ensure they are using the pupil premium effectively – using tools such as the evidence-based Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) toolkit or by undertaking a pupil premium review.