The Government has announced it is to increase the Pupil Premium in 2014/2015 to £1300– an increase of £400 per pupil, the biggest increase the initiative has ever seen. News of the extra funding has been largely welcomed, but some critics believe the cash still won’t be used to make a difference.
Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation has warned teachers to look at evidence before deciding what to spend the extra cash on.
He said: “The extra money is welcome, but it is vital the Pupil Premium is spent well, and used on measures that do most to improve results for our poorest pupils in primary schools.”
Director of the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) director, Caroline Wright also welcomed the changes, but said that the Government should still be pumping more cash into schools: “We applaud the Government for listening to industry’s concerns about the extra burdens being placed on primary budgets due to the national curriculum and assessment practice changes.
“We welcome the increase in the level of primary pupil premium funding from 2014/15 but would encourage the Government to provide a one-off cash injection into all schools to allow them to make the investment they need to finance the CPD and curriculum resources that are urgently needed to help ensure the delivery of the world-class curriculum that Michael Gove aspires to,” she said.
Shadow schools minister Kevin Brennan argued that the Pupil Premium had so far only been used to plug holes in education funding, rather than to close the gap between rich and poor. He said: “It is right that we target extra support at disadvantaged pupils to help them succeed in school. But we will need to ensure support actually reaches those children. Because this government has inflicted the biggest cuts to education since the 1950s, many headteachers have so far had to use the pupil premium to plug holes in their budgets.”