Reading Recovery Europe


Exceptional use of the Pupil Premium to support literacy


A smaller than average one-form entry primary school and nursery with a Children's Centre on site, Hillmorton Primary School has a complex and unique profile:

  • exceptionally high levels of Disabilities and Special Educational Needs pupils
  • high mobility
  • high numbers of free school meal/Pupil Premium families
  • low levels of speech, communication and language on entry.

Despite interventions, an unacceptable number of pupils were achieving below age-related expectations in reading and writing at the end of Key Stage 1.

The challenge

We were faced with the challenge of implementing a programme linked to ongoing professional development that would achieve the following:

  • ensure that all children, whatever their starting point, would achieve age-related expectations at the end of Key Stage 1
  • close the gap between our most vulnerable pupils and their peers
  • have an impact on the quality of literacy provision across the whole school
  • improve behaviour in classes by allowing all pupils to access the curriculum
  • raise self-esteem in lower achieving pupils, and improve life-chances
  • engage hard to reach parents, and give them the knowledge and skills to support their child's learning
  • develop meaningful school/home partnerships that overcome barriers to learning.

The solution


Reading Recovery offered the solution to the school's challenge. With a record of success that no previous intervention could match, why wouldn't we grab the opportunity for our children? In 2009 we started implementing Reading Recovery, which offered us not only personalised one-to-one tuition for our most vulnerable pupils, in a safe, supportive and nurturing environment; but also the opportunity to develop relationships with parents and carers that have proven to be the core strength of the programme.

The impact

Targeting Pupil Premium funding for Reading Recovery has changed lives and raised standards of achievement; it has been the cornerstone for the development of layered interventions throughout the school that follow the same effective model.

We are confident we have used Pupil Premium funding to effectively close the gap and make a difference to children's life chances. Our success with Reading Recovery attracts visitors from other schools; teachers are keen to learn about our Reading Recovery journey and how they too can begin a journey of their own. As one of our successful Reading Recovery pupils says, "I am a great reader and love learning now!"

Evidence supports the positive impact the effective use of Pupil Premium has had on helping disadvantaged pupils reach their potential, and Reading Recovery case studies demonstrate the remarkable progress pupils make following this programme. For example one pupil received 66 Reading Recovery sessions over a 15 week period and made 18 months progress. That pupil's reading age went from five years and seven months to seven years and one month.

Ofsted (March, 2013) commented that "Pupils supported by Pupil Premium make good progress. They reach standards commensurate with and sometimes above other pupils. A wide range of support helps to close gaps in their learning and raise their confidence and self-esteem. The Reading Recovery, Every child Counts and Achievement for All programmes are particularly effective in helping pupils who are behind in their learning, for whatever reason, to catch up quickly."

The RAISE Online (Reporting and Analysis for Improvement through school Self-Evaluation) report for 2013 showed that 100% of Hillmorton pupils achieved age-related expectations in both reading and writing at end of Key Stage 1. This impressive result builds on a steady improvement over the previous years, 93% for reading and 82% for writing in 2012, and 79% for reading and 83% for writing in 2011.