Identifying ‘just about managing’ families -- new grammar schools consultion(9 Posts)
The Green Paper talks about how to distinguish families that are above the FSM thresholds, but still on below avg incomes; managing but not comfortable. To try to target more resources for the kids in these families. Could they use area income values? Is there a way that doesn't involve detailed individual means testing -- what demographic measures do you think would work?
Don't know how they will measure it... but do know that, once again, those working hard, but who will never be well off, who earn just enough to keep themselves off benefits will be ignored...
In theory that's the group they want to track, the ones just above benefits thresholds.
I guess they could use IDACI postcode analysis. Our local authority applies deprivation funding on that basis, though currently that seems to then double up with PPG. At a school level one could track IDACI bands separately from FSM.
I have a friend who on paper, and by postcode, looks the same as me in terms of income. However, my friend doesn't receive any child support and I do. So I just manage ok; friend barely manages.
The poverty of children and families where child support isn't being paid has been politically invisible in this country.
Receipt of child tax credits or child benefit?
I was thinking maybe they should just ask parents to identify if they think that money is tight or they only "just about mange" without benefits. But people would be motivated to lie if it meant they had a better chance of kid getting into grammar school.
Net monthly income & net rent or mortgage payment would reveal most of the 'just managing', but then we're back to means testing.
Means testing used to be the only method used and is probably the most successful. When university grants and awards were calculated by local authorities, this is what we did. However it is expensive! We used to have about 16 staff doing it for 9,000 students.
The other issue will be deciding what "family" income looks like. Some unmarried parents live separately, run 2 houses, yet the carer parent can claim income support if they work part-time and/or have a low income whilst also getting money for the children from the ex partner. These people could be better off than a "standard" married couple with a modest income but who have big mortgage because they live in an expensive area. At least the old student grant system had rules and this is probably the best starting point.
Alternatively, Private schools have well used rules for giving bursaries. I looked at one recently that will ignore one house ownership and reduce fees to those earning under £X amount pa as "parental" income. It says below £30,000 there is a good chance and more than £48,000 there is limited chance. So you know where you stand but I assumed that reading this "parental" income meant two parents if they contribute even if they are not married. One could see a temporary lack of payments or just a temporary agreement to stop paying if it helps get a grammar school place. It is always an issue where people can "hide" money such as the self-employed making a low profit for a few crucial years. If there are loop holes, people will find them.
The other measures of deprivation cover far too wide an area and will not scoop up individuals. Where I am a governor, people earn fairly good incomes but their engagement in education is not always very good. Some of the children are deprived because they are not given a love of learning by their parents. The other way to counteract all of this is to offer coaching to all children who want it in state schools, for free. After school clubs is the only way. This is what the private school my DD attended did. Parents who can pay do so and those that cannot, don't. Could work?
Not sure IDACI would work: parents would buy a house or rent in a poor area just to gain entry and that would skew everything.
Where I am a governor, people earn fairly good incomes but their engagement in education is not always very good. Some of the children are deprived because they are not given a love of learning by their parents. totally agree with this. I used to work at a school with lots of kids whose parents had worked hard and made good through building or scaffolding. (And some through drugs as well). Education was a low priority - there was a place in the family business. And kids want to emulate dad in his Armani gear, driving a top of the range Mercedes, not the maths teacher pulling out the car park in a 15 year old Ford Focus with a pile of marking.
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