A report from the Public Accounts Committee has claimed that there are inequalities in the core funding received by schools with very similar levels of disadvantage. The report estimates that there are around two million (29%) of seven million children aged 4-16 in publicly funded schools who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
There is evidence, however, that suggests the introduction of the Pupil Premium in 2011 has narrowed the gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers. Headteachers have been achieving this through using the Pupil Premium to implement effective interventions. Since the Pupil Premium’s introduction, the attainment gap in primary schools has closed by 4.7 percentage points and 1.6 in secondary schools. Although this evidence is positive, it is still early days and the Public Accounts Committee has recommended that the Department of Education needs to do more to demonstrate its emerging benefits.
The attainment gap, although narrowed, still remains large and uneven across the country. The Committee believes that part of this issue can be attributed to the Department not doing enough to ensure good practice is adopted in weaker schools. To combat this, the Department should make Pupil Premium reviews compulsory for schools that have been identified for using the fund ineffectively. On top of this, schools that have had success with their Pupil Premium Interventions should share their knowledge on best practice.
Does your school use the Pupil Premium effectively? How do you recommend the attainment gap is narrowed and closed? Let us know your thoughts on social media!