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Is this the end for Pupil Premium?(4 Posts)
Prof Becky Allen (formerly of Education Datalab) gave a talk at ResearchEd last weekend about how Pupil Premium isn’t doing what it’s supposed to be doing, and has now written the talk up into a 3 part blog post. Well worth reading.
She notes how pupil premium doesn’t identify the most financially disadvantaged pupils and working poor families miss out. She notes that measuring the gap is meaningless. She also says how the funding has to be targeted at PP pupils only and the impacted evidenced, leading to short term interventionist strategies to a group who don’t have homogenous needs.
She thinks that PP funding should be rolled into general school funding for heads to use as they see fit. I’d worry that if the DfE thinks PP isn’t working they’ll just get rid of it.
One thing that she said at the talk that I found interesting was that the attainment gap at primary is much less than at secondary. This is because lots of families who claim FSM at primary cannot work for childcare reasons. They are not that distant from the job market. By secondary, far fewer families are claiming FSM - childcare is no longer an issue and families that could go back to work have. Families still claiming FSM at secondary are more likely to be strongly distanced from the job market and in a more distinct social group. The widened gap at secondary is not because primaries are better at narrowing the gap than secondaries, not because they teach mixed ability but because of this social filtering.
This could potentially be a big deal - Nick Gibb was talking at the same conference and Becky Allen is quite high profile.
If PP funding got rolled into general school funding do we think that it would then be used to support disadvantaged pupils, including those who don’t qualify for PP funding currently, or would it just be spent on photocopying?
I think that there is a reasonable chance that this will be rolled into the general funding, if for no other reason that it is easy at that point to loose a few million £, so that the net effect is less funding across all schools.
If it is does get rolled into school funding then inevitably I would suggest less and less will be spent on the pp cohort as it now stands because of the funding pressures schools are under.
I question the reason why the gap gets bigger. If you look through KS1, KS2, KS3 and KS4 progress then on average the progress gets lower as you get higher up the key stages. It is quite likely that the progress of PP pupils will be less then non-PP pupils so inevitably the attainment gap between the key stages will increase. It is also all about statistics and different interpretations can give diferent results.
Like many things it is an inexact science. I work with kids who are out of school, because they are not on the roll of a school they do not receive PP funding and cannot access FSM. At a rough guess at least 50% would be eligible if in school. Many parents end up having to give up jobs if they have younger kids out of school. I think the system needs reform as many vulnerable kids both in and out of school do not qualify but I'm not sure putting the money back into school budgets will help the kids who need it.
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