Student Services

ASC Unit



Pupil Premium Strategy


In April 2011, the government began a scheme which provides a significant sum of money intended to enable schools to narrow the attainment gap between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students called the pupil premium.

The cohort for Pupil Premium includes:

  • Students who have received free school meals for any period of time in the last six years
  • Children who are looked after
  • Children of men and women currently serving in the Armed Forces or who have served within the last five years

In addition to the above, from April 2014, funding has also been provided (pupil premium plus) for students who have:

  • Been looked after for one day or more
  • Ceased to be looked after through adoption
  • Ceased to be looked after through a special guardianship or a residence order

Our School

We are a fully inclusive secondary school with approximately 1300 students aged 11 to 18 on roll, 289 of which are currently pupil premium. As it says in our mission statement, we believe that every child is unique. As a school, we are committed to raising the attainment of all our students by encouraging our students to identify their strengths and seek ways to improve their areas for development. This is demonstrated by the fact that we acquired the ‘Achievement For All’ quality mark in July 2014. We set high expectations and aspirations for all our pupils, regardless of their background.

The school has an appointed member of staff responsible for tracking the progress of disadvantaged students and a designated member of the senior leadership team responsible for managing the pupil premium budget. Pupil premium issues are dealt with at a leadership level through their business meetings. The pupil premium co-ordinator meets with a link governor to explain what interventions are running and the impact they are having. The role of the link governor is to be a critical eye and challenge or advise on decisions that are being made and next steps. The pupil premium co-ordinator also provides a written update which is issued to all governors termly.

Contextual Information

Bedfordshire is the fourteenth most densely populated county, with an interesting cultural mix that is celebrated through various forms. The M1, A1 and A5 provide good road links between the north and south of the country and there is also a good rail service, with Bedford town serviced by the Midland Main Line, the East-Midlands railway and Thameslink. Although these strong transport links are a real positive, they also bring the problem of drugs to our doorstep.

In May 2019, Police professionals reported that one in ten of all 18-59 year olds across Bedfordshire are regular drug users. Both our urban and rural communities are affected. Cannabis is readily available, with cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin easily available. This availability has been increased by the development of county lines. Bedfordshire is the only force in the eastern region known to export county lines into other areas, such as Berkshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. It is also targeted by county lines gangs from areas such as London.

As a result, vulnerable children and adults are at great risk of being recruited using physical violence, or of being financially and sexually exploited. Bedfordshire has seen an increase in the number of high profile incidents of violence that have been linked to the local drug trade over the last year. Detective Chief Superintendent Ley stated that the competition to keep control of drug supply lines and drug dealing territory results in, “incredibly volatile conflicts between gangs and organised crimes”.

The most at risk of being influenced by county lines are those from disadvantaged backgrounds. One of the main feeder schools for Mark Rutherford School is situated in the Goldington Ward; it is the fourteenth most deprived ward in Bedford Borough and in the bottom 20% of deprivation in the country. In ‘The State of Bedford’, a report published by the Citizens Advice Bureau in 2017, Goldington was the fifth most likely ward to access them for help, most commonly regarding issues such as ‘debt, benefits and tax credits’ or ‘employment, housing and family’.

In addition to the desperate picture around drugs and gangs, ACCM UK reported in January 2013, that there were wide inequalities in life expectancy between the most deprived and least deprived in Bedford: the difference for males was 11.3 years and females, 9 years. It placed us in the 20% of local authorities in England with the greatest differences. Finally, Bedford Today reported in February 2019 that, “Bedford has a rate of 7 rough sleepers for every 1,000 households, one of the highest in the country”.

These are issues that would impact greatly on the everyday lives of children that access our school and it is imperative that we gain an understanding of their individual experiences to work out how best we can support them.

Typical barriers for pupil premium students at Mark Rutherford School

In comparison with our-non pupil premium students, the barriers for our pupil premium students are:

A. Lower attainment at KS2
B. Lower reading ages
C. Lower attendance
D. Poorer behaviour choices
E. Inappropriately equipped for learning
F. Reliance on a smart-phone for internet access rather than a computer
G. Mental-health issues
H. Lower aspirations and motivation levels
I. Fewer extra-curricular experiences
J. Reduced exposure to higher and further education
K. Negative community influences outside of school

As a result of these barriers, some of our disadvantaged students make less progress in their learning from primary school to their GCSE examinations.

Intended outcomes of the pupil premium strategy

At Mark Rutherford School we aim to ensure our disadvantaged students are doing as well as other groups of students. We measure this by analysing and working to narrow the gap between our pupil premium and non-pupil premium student groups for the following outcomes:

  • Aspirational career choices and post 16 routes
  • Improved well-being and mental health support
  • The progress 8 and attainment 8 measures at GCSE
  • The overall school attendance percentage
  • The rate of persistent absenteeism by year group and key sub-groups
  • Family and parental engagement via attendance to parents' evenings
  • Number of fixed term and permanent exclusions
  • The number of students at risk of leaving school without any further education, employment or training opportunities (NEETs).

The Mark Rutherford pupil premium panel

The Mark Rutherford pupil premium panel meets fortnightly to ensure pupil premium funding is allocated and spent fairly; provisions in departments are evaluated robustly and effective interventions are identified. This panel comprises of the Assistant Headteacher (Inclusion), the Business Manager and the Pupil Premium Coordinator. A standardised system for funding requests for consideration has been implemented. An additional focus this year is to ensure evaluations are being completed for all monies received, not just the larger interventions.

The students' view

In 2017-18 we created a research focus group in order to gather the views of the students. By identifying the barriers to learning for our students, we are better placed to support their individual needs. Students feel listened to and heard; and actions can be taken to support the needs of individuals. Based on what they told us, we demonstrated how barriers can be overcome. This input was severely impacted by the closure of schools as a result of COVID-19 in March 2020 and we have been unable to resume it yet, this academic year, due to the inability to mix bubbles.

Pupil Premium Expenditure

Please click here for the impact and evaluation of expenditure for 2019-20

Please click here for the breakdown of expenditure for 2020-21




Mark Rutherford School
Wentworth Drive, Bedford, Bedfordshire Mk41 8PX
Telephone 01234 290200 : Fax 01234 290236 : Email: