Ofsted to look at how Premium being used in schools
More funds for literacy support for those dropping behind
Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, said in his speech on the Pupil Premium on 14 May, that the Liberal Democrats are ‘not going to miss our chance to make Britain a better, fairer place too. For me, nothing illustrates that better than our Pupil Premium: Extra money for the most disadvantaged children in our schools.’
The Pupil Premium is ‘to equip every school to support pupils from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.’
And it is ‘To help us build a more socially mobile Britain: Where ability trumps privilege;Where effort trumps connections; Where sharp elbows don’t automatically get you to the front. He said ‘for me, the Pupil Premium remains the most important lever we have – and it’s in your hands.’
Last year the Pupil Premium was worth an extra £488 for pupils on Free School Meals and looked after children. This year it’s increased to £600… And been extended to children who have been eligible for Free School Meals at any time in the last six years. Despite an unprecedented squeeze on public spending… This year the Pupil Premium will be worth £1.25bn in total… Doubling to £2.5bn by the end of the Parliament.’ We’ll prove that teachers do best when Whitehall steps out of the way.’
Clegg makes a direct appeal to teachers in his speech ‘ I want to strike a deal between the Coalition government and our schools and teachers: We’ll give you the cash; we’ll give you the freedom; we’ll reward and celebrate your success. But in return, we want you to redouble your efforts to close the gap between your poorer pupils and everyone else. We won’t be telling you what to do, but we will be watching what you achieve.’
Parental involvement to be encouraged
Clegg said ‘All the evidence shows that, when parents play a part in their children’s learning…Those children do better. When mothers and fathers understand how to support what happens in the classroom. When they can pass their insights onto the professionals too. Many of the best schools already create this kind of partnership.t, where it doesn’t ,happen, the Pupil Premium creates a new way to bring parents in… To start a meaningful conversation that can last for that child’s entire school life.’
Extra Funds for Reading and Literacy
Clegg confirms that the Education Endowment Foundation will shortly be inviting groups of local schools most affected by poor literacy and reading ‘To bid for extra funds for struggling Year 7s, from deprived homes… To help them get their reading and writing up to scratch: Extra “catch up cash”, if you like. The support will be for pupil premium pupils who leave primary school without Level 4 literacy – the expected level.
And we envisage that schools will want to use it for small catch up classes, or one-to-one tuition, or vouchers for literacy tuition that parents can spend.’
Ofsted will look at how Pupil Premium is being spent
In a key passage of the speech Clegg says that schools will be held accountable for the way they use the pupil Premium . He said ‘But schools need to know that, in assessing their performance… OFSTED will be looking forensically at how well their Pupil Premium pupils do. Inspectors are already being instructed to look closely at how schools are spending the money… And to what effect… With plans to publish a survey early next year. And, because OFSTED understands the priority I attach to this issue…
It will be providing me with regular reports… Detailing the progress schools are making in closing the attainment gap.’
Prizes for narrowing attainment gap
The government will also In partnership with the Times Educational Supplement… from next year, ‘ be introducing awards for the top-50 schools… Who have done the most to boost the performance of their poorest pupils… And to narrow the gap with their better off peers. That success will be up in lights in the performance tables. They’ll win publicity, acclaim and cash too – cash prizes of up to £10,000 for the best of the best.’
Clegg’s comments come just weeks after a survey of 2,000 schools leaders, conducted for the Press Association by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), found that more than four-fifths say the premium has either equalled or not made up for financial losses elsewhere.
NAHT general secretary Russell Hobby said: “NAHT has always supported the idea of a pupil premium and is perfectly comfortable with being judged on the performance of the most vulnerable pupils – this is, in any case, already happening. The Government needs to be frank, however, that the pupil premium is not extra funding – it merely substitutes for cuts elsewhere. It is a redistribution of funds within the system, not additional funding.”
For 2011-12, the Pupil Premium funding is: £488 per pupil in respect of pupils known to be eligible for Free School Meals (FSM), and for children in care who have been continuously looked after for at least six months; and £200 per pupil for those whose parents are serving in the armed forces. In 2012-13, the Pupil Premium rises to £600 per pupil in respect of pupils known to have been eligible for FSM at any point within the last six years, and for children in care who have been continuously looked after for at least six months. The Pupil Premium for children whose parents are in the armed services will rise to £250 per pupil.