School celebrates cash prize

Good work: Headteacher John Belshire with Year One pupils in the Forest Schools area of Fleetwood's Charity CE Primary School, Preesall

Good work: Headteacher John Belshire with Year One pupils in the Forest Schools area of Fleetwood's Charity CE Primary School, Preesall

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A rural school has been singled out for praise by a government minister for its determination to help all pupils do well.

Fleetwood’s Charity CE Primary School, in Preesall, received a letter from MP David Laws, the schools minister, after it ranked in the top 100 nationally for the way it uses pupil premium funding to improve education for disadvantaged youngsters.

The school, on Mill Street, has been awarded £1,000 for winning in the 2015 Pupil Premium Awards, as one of the most improved schools in the country “in terms of attainment and progress of disadvantaged pupils since 2011”.

Pupil premium is additional funding given to state-run schools in order to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils, to close the gap between them and their peers.

Around one fifth of the school’s pupils qualify for the funding, which is £1,300 for children on free school meals or £1,900 for children who are or have been under the care of the local authority.

Headteacher John Belshire said: “It is lovely to be recognised nationally for the work we do with the children in Preesall and Knott End.

“The award confirms that children are doing very well in our school, whatever their personal circumstances. Hopefully the recent success will help the younger children to see that everyone can do well.”

The pupil premium has paid for specialist training for staff, for them to identify and understand specific learning difficulties and develop ways to support children with them.

And a chunk of the cash was used to establish a dedicated learning mentor role in school, for a staff member to work with children and families on issues such as self-esteem.

Mr Belshire added: “I believe strongly that this is the foundation to our success regarding achievement for all children, particularly those facing extra challenges in their lives.”

Fleetwood’s Charity school, which was rated good by Ofsted in October, is one of just 11 primary schools in Lancashire to win the award.

School bosses are now deciding on how to use the £1,000.

The headteacher added: “We may buy some new equipment for lessons, new books for the library or possibly some exciting experience - it will be on something that all the children will enjoy.”