Consultation on the pupil premium

The DfE has opened itself for consultation to organisations wanting to comment about the way in which the pupil premium reaches schools. While reading the consultation document, I was particularly interested in what it had to say about looked after children (LAC) – as it says, a group of children “who generally have poor attainment” compared to their peers.

It is bare boned as you can imagine, but does say LAC will be covered by the pupil premium using a separate process via local authorities – this much we know.

But as the care matters programme – the white paper of which launched in 2007 – has shown the solution is not simply throwing money, but providing a certain sort of education, now put into jeopardy by the cut in areas based grant (the funding stream which the care matters programme had provided with).

As with all vulnerable children targeted by the pupil premium, nothing is being said about the type of education they will receive. Instead the premium, to be used in any way the school feels, is an incentive to admit children from groups generally considered to achieve less than their peers (the amount of the premium will not be known until the 20 October spending review).

Organisations who work on the behalf of vulnerable children should really offer consultation to the government by reminding them that money alone was not the reason why the academic achievements of, say, looked after children increased since the introduction of the care matters programme.

It was a type of education that local authorities are not being encouraged by the government to keep anymore, which is a risk not worth taking.

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2 Responses to Consultation on the pupil premium

  1. Speaking as a teacher (and, hands up, a lib dem) I broadly agree with your blog and the assertion that money isnt the be all and end all. However money does matter and can make a real difference.
    Having money specifically for a specific purpose will mean it reaches those children and it will reach those children in the form of an additional teaching assistant in many cases. And money might not be the whole answer for LAC but a person often is.

    • Carl P says:

      Well I don’t disagree Colin, but the designated teacher for LAC was something funded from the areas based grant (via the care matters programme) which has had a significant cut. And pupil attainment increased somewhat with a DT. So instead of a premium without guidance on how to spend it for the good of the pupil (I suppose to provide guidance would not be “free” in the sense of the word it is used by the DfE – others might call it abandonment) the funding of the designated teacher wouldn’t go amiss, precisely the kind of radical intervention a Labour govt. introduced in 2007.

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