Islington primary school goes from best in London to best in country for its Pupil Premium programme

Head teacher Lynne Gavin, Centre, and chair of Govenors, Nicola Manby, are crowned national pupil pr

Head teacher Lynne Gavin, Centre, and chair of Govenors, Nicola Manby, are crowned national pupil premium champions by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg - Credit: Archant

Teachers and schoolchildren were this week “lost for words” at being crowned the best primary school in the country for the way it makes use of the Pupil Premium – extra Government funding targeted at disadvantaged children.

In May, Pakeman Primary School was announced the best school in London after the regional round.

But this week, the school in Hornsey Road, Holloway, was crowned national champion by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at a prestigious ceremony, receiving a trophy and £10,000.

In a special report last month, the Gazette revealed how the school achieved the feat by using the extra money – calculated by the number of children receiving free school meals – to step up one-to-ones, before and after school sessions and Saturday classes.

Head teacher Lynne Gavin said: “We are lost for words. It’s absolutely brilliant. The children are ecstatic.

“We’re all talking about how we should spend the money. We’re just so very proud of all the teaching staff and the children who have made sure we really have benefitted from this.”

Mr Clegg, who spearheaded the Pupil Premium scheme after announcing it in 2010, paid tribute to the “creative” way Pakeman has used the funds to transform lives.

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He added: “It’s head teachers at schools like Pakeman Primary who are working hard to come up with ideas to make a real difference to pupils, so it’s great that we are recognising what works best.”

About 70 per cent of Pakeman pupils qualify for free school meals under Government rules, meaning the school will this year receive more than £200,000 extra.

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