Evaluation of Pupil Premium 

 The Pupil Premium was introduced in 2011 and is an additional amount paid directly to schools that depends on the number of children eligible for Free School Meals and of those who have been looked after for more than six months.  For 2011/12, the amount was £488 per pupil, rising to £623 in 2012/13 and intended to rise again to £900.  The Department for Education commissioned a consortium consisting of the Universities of Manchester and Newcastle together with Tecis and led by TNS BMRB to undertake an evaluation of this policy.

The evaluation aimed to answer the following questions:

  • How have the schools within the sample spent Pupil Premium funds?
  • How do schools decide how to spend the Pupil Premium?
  • Are there differences in the use of Pupil Premium funds between schools with different characteristics?
  • What do schools perceive the impact of Pupil Premium funding to have been so far?
  • What do schools plan to do with Pupil Premium funding in future years?

Tecis was responsible for the design of a datasheet to collect financial information from schools in the survey and for the analysis of that information. 

 The Final Report for this research reported seven key findings.

 “There is evidence that schools welcomed the introduction of the Pupil Premium and saw it as an important resource … They particularly appreciated the flexibility it gave them to fund the interventions they thought most useful, in the interests of their pupils. In addition, the availability of a dedicated funding stream for which they were accountable caused some schools to focus more clearly on the needs of disadvantaged pupils and offered some degree of protection to provision for those pupils.

  1. For the most part, schools’ approaches were already well-established, and the introduction of the Pupil Premium enabled schools to maintain or enhance them. In most, but not all, cases, schools pooled it with other funds in support of these approaches. The amount of funding schools were deploying in this way was typically well in excess of their income from the Pupil Premium.
  2. There was some evidence of new forms of provision being established following the introduction of the Pupil Premium. However, it is not clear whether this provision was additional to that already being made, or was simply an evolution of what had previously been in place, drawing on schools’ evidence as to what was effective in their contexts and the increased flexibility offered by the Premium.
  3. A major determinant of how schools made use of the Pupil Premium was the state and trajectory of their overall budgets. Schools were reporting changes both in their own funding and in the need for them to pay for or buy replacements for services that had previously been accessible at no cost, for instance via the local authority. Some schools were doing well in this situation, and they were treating the Pupil Premium as additional funding. Many, however, were doing less well. They were using it to maintain forms of provision that had previously been funded from other sources. This appears to be the principal reason why the introduction of the Pupil Premium had not led to a major expansion or rethinking of provision for disadvantaged pupils. In considering the future, there was a mixture of anticipation of the positive effects of an increase in the Pupil Premium’s value, and anxiety about the implications of further changes in school financing.
  4. There was evidence that some schools had a strong and principled commitment to making provision for disadvantaged pupils. …
  5. Many schools appeared to have robust systems for assessing the needs in their populations and for determining what kinds of provision might meet those needs. Many also had apparently robust systems for monitoring the impact of provision. …
  6. Schools tended to structure their provision around what their internal evidence told them was needed and what would be effective in tackling disadvantage. This meant that they treated external guidance and research evidence as more or less useful advice rather than as authoritative imperatives. This led many schools to experience some tension between what they believed they were expected to do by external authorities, and what they understood to be in the best interests of their pupils. …”


Recent Case Studies:

UK - Evaluation of Pupil Premium

International - Operational Plan to Scale up Quality Kindergarten Education in Ghana

Upcoming Courses:

20 October 2016 Durham Economic Analaysis for Social Policy Decisions

23 November 2016 Durham Value for Money Assessment


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