THE PUPIL PREMIUM-IT MAY BE DIFFICULT TO JUDGE HOW WELL IT HAS BEEN SPENT

Many schools are  not disaggregating pupil premium funding from other funding targeted at the disadvantaged 

The latest independent evaluation of the Pupil Premium, out this week ,makes interesting reading. We  know that schools will be held accountable for how they use the Pupil Premium  and for closing the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers.Ofsted keeps reiterating this, as does David Laws, the schools minister. But schools are making  two things clear that serve to muddy the waters. First the Pupil  Premium alone is  not enough to fund the support they offer  for disadvantaged  pupils,  which includes  a wider group of pupils than those  technically eligible for Pupil Premium  funding . Secondly ,schools often combine funding from the Pupil Premium with funding from other sources in order to sustain provision targeted at  this  wide range of disadvantaged pupils.This   may make it difficult for the government (and Ofsted) to easily evaluate and assess the way the pupil premium is used in schools as they may not be able easily to disaggregate Pupil Premium funding from other funding used to target disadvantaged pupils  . Some schools, of course,  might be able  to show  directly  what they had spent the Pupil Premium on but in other cases, the specific items  funded by the Pupil Premium would not necessarily be defined separately in schools’ financial data and so would be difficult or impossible  to provide.In short, schools spend more on disadvantage (as they define it) than  they receive in Pupil Premium funding, and in many cases  that funding is not the principal driver of  their provision.

So, self -evidently, this  may provide a significant challenge for Ofsted inspectors trying to establish whether or not the Pupil Premium has been spent effectively.

Evaluation of Pupil Premium Research Report; July 2013;Hannah Carpenter, Ivy Papps, Jo Bragg, Alan  Dyson, Diane Harris & Kirstin Kerr, Liz Todd &  Karen Laing TNS BMRB, TECIS, Centre for Equity in  Education, University of Manchester &  Newcastle University

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/210062/DFE-RR282.pdf

Note1

The Pupil Premium takes the form of additional funding allocated to schools on the basis of the numbers of children entitled to and registered for free school meals (FSM) and children who have been looked after continuously for more than six months. Schools received £488 per eligible pupil – approximately 18% of the pupil population – in 2011-12 and £623 per eligible pupil in 2012-13. Eligibility was widened to cover approximately 27% of the  ,population in 2012-13 with the inclusion of those recorded as eligible for FSM at any  point in the last six years.John Dunford is  the new Pupil Premium Champion. (Thank goodness he doesnt have the title Czar-we  already have more Czars than the Romanovs’  ever did) .John Dunford is the Chair of Whole Education and the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors, and former General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders.

Note 2

From September 2013, Ofsted will introduce a sharper focus to the performance and progress of pupil premium pupils in their inspections. It is unlikely that a school will be judged ‘outstanding’ if its disadvantaged pupils are not making good progress.

Schools will now be held to account for:

the attainment of their disadvantaged pupils

the progress made by their disadvantaged pupils

the in-school gap in attainment between disadvantaged pupils and their peers

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