NASUWT is calling for a clear system of monitoring and appropriate funding for schools to ensure the Pupil Premium remains additional funding allocated for the most disadvantaged.
The Pupil Premium has the potential to make a “real difference” to disadvantaged pupils, says NASUWT, but is too often being used to fill holes in school budgets.
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Commenting on the report released today by the Education Endowment Foundation and Sutton Trust, the UK’s largest teachers’ union says if the Pupil Premium is to close the achievement gap, it must be targeted at those in need.
“The Sutton Trust Report does not tell us anything new,” said Chris Keates General Secretary of NASUWT.
“It simply confirms what the NASUWT predicted when the pupil premium was introduced, that given the cuts to school budgets the funding would inevitably be used to shore-up diminishing school budgets, rather than support disadvantaged children.
A recent NASUWT survey on the use of the Pupil Premium found that over half of teachers did not know how the additional funding for Pupil Premium pupils is spent in their school. While nearly a third had not been made aware what priorities their school had focused on to support pupils who attracted the pupil premium funding.
“In too many cases teachers were not seeing any extra resource in their classrooms but were still expected to meet the additional needs of the pupils,” she added.
“As this report highlights, the Pupil Premium has the potential to make a real difference to the most disadvantaged pupils, but the benefits are not being realised because of cuts to school budgets and a lack of robust financial oversight of how money is being spent.”
The survey of more than 2,600 respondents also found that almost nine out of ten (87 per cent) teachers have not received specific training on teaching and learning strategies for pupils eligible for the Pupil Premium.
“If real progress is to be made in closing the achievement gap for the most disadvantaged pupils, then those actually teaching the pupils need to be consulted on its use,” Keates said.
“There needs to be a clear system of monitoring, but above all schools need to be funded appropriately to ensure the pupil premium truly is additional funding.”