Engaging and motivating Pupil Premium Grant pupils

Teachers help 100 % of PPG pupils reach end of year targets

Claire Chester is a Year 7 leader at Newman College in Oldham. She recently got in touch to tell us about how her, and her colleagues, have been using IRIS Connect’s lesson observation and in-ear coaching tools over the past two terms, to improve the quality of Pupil Premium Grant (PPG) pupils speaking, listening and writing skills.


IRIS Connect: What challenges were you facing?

Claire: We were struggling to understand what motivated and engaged our PPG pupils. We also needed a more effective way to experiment with different strategies and see the results in order to close the gap.


IRIS Connect: How did IRIS Connect help?

Claire: We chose IRIS Connect as our solution because it enabled us to focus on particular pupils and observe their learning behaviours during lessons. IRIS Connect tools were particularly useful as we were able to analyse lessons. We determined how many higher order thinking skills questions these pupils were asked during each session filmed. Then using the in-ear coaching tool, we were able to see different strategies in action, further develop classroom dialogue and advise each other, in the moment, on which ones to use with different pupils.

In-ear coaching also has had a very positive impact on pupil performance; pupils enjoyed the experience of their teachers working collaboratively, with a focus on their learning and progress, and pupils received personalised feedback both during these sessions and afterwards. Through the use of IRIS Connect we were able to share the clips with members of the Teaching and Learning Strategy Team and also use during CPD sessions.


IRIS Connect: What impact have you seen so far?

Claire: The attention pupils received through their teachers working collaboratively across subjects had a great impact on their learning. Pupils made rapid progress and the quality of their written work improved substantially leading to an increased number reaching their end of year targets. The project has also influenced positively on other groups of pupils in the class, because we’ve been able to develop strategies to stretch and engage them all.

Over time, pupils have grown in confidence as well. We regularly asked them to present their work to the class, as well as take part in a range of speaking activities, which were filmed, and they said they enjoyed.

What we really like about IRIS Connect is the ability it gives us to capture engaging activities and good practice that we can share easily with the Teaching and Learning group and English Faculty, so we have extensive plans to use IRIS Connect in the future. Including:

  • Filming classes that some teachers are having success with and others are struggling with, so we can all observe what Behaviour for Learning strategies work with different groups.
  • Develop the English Faculty resources in IRIS Connect, by adding a full range of clips on pedagogy and practice, Assessment for Learning , Kagan, Blooms strategies etc.
  • Continue our work with middle and lower ability PPG pupils.

What is IRIS Connect?

IRIS Connect platform
IRIS Connect is a secure, personalised place for teachers to record, analyse and reflect on their practice.

Teachers can take control and arrange their own professional learning experiences and resources. As well as share easily with each other to make collaboration simple, organised and effective.

Platform Packages


Impact summary

Encouraging pupil premium grant (PPG) pupils to participate in lessons and improve the quality of their speaking, listening and writing skills in order to close the gap.

  • All pupils’ attitudes to learning improved from progress check one to progress check four
  • The quality of work produced by the target cohort improved across a range of subjects
  • At the start of the project, none of this target group were expected to meet their target grades. By the end of the year, 100% of these pupils reached their end of year target, with one exceeding their expected level
  • Pupils confidence notably improved

What do pupils at Newman College think about IRIS Connect? Find out…



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