Magazine article Public Finance

Pupil Premium 'Will Take Cash from Schools in Poorest Areas'

Magazine article Public Finance

Pupil Premium 'Will Take Cash from Schools in Poorest Areas'

Article excerpt

Concern is mounting over the government's pupil premium policy after independent research suggested it is likely to leave the most deprived communities worse off.

The premium, set to be introduced in 2011/12, is designed to direct money at the poorest pupils.

Councils are currently able to concentrate deprivation funding on schools serving pupils from the poorest wards. The pupil premium seeks to change that by giving money directly to schools based on how many pupils they have from poor backgrounds - likely to be based on whether they qualify for free school meals.

According to a report by the House of Commons Library, the premium will be worth £2.5bn by 2014/15, or 6.3% of the total schools budget - about half the proportional size of the existing deprivation fund.

The report said: 'The impact is likely to be a shift in funding from better-funded (generally more deprived) to less well-funded (less deprived) local authorities.'

It added that the direct schools grant - the general revenue source for schools, which is not adjusted for deprivation - will in effect be cut for all schools.

Only those in less wellfunded (less deprived areas) can potentially benefit with additional resources from the pupil premium,' it said.

In the most deprived areas, schools with even the highest proportions of children on free school meals could be substantially worse off under the new system.

The Waltham Forest Schools Forum in northeast London found that the schools currently awarded the most generous deprivation settlements could lose out

For example, in Downsell Primary School, 77% of pupils live in areas in die top 20% for indices of multiple deprivation. …

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