Growing number of schools plugging funding gaps with pupil premium

A growing number of schools are using pupil premium funding for disadvantaged pupils to offset budget cuts, according to polling published by the Sutton Trust and the Education Endowment Foundation.

The survey of 1,607 teachers, conducted by the National Foundation for Educational Research, found that six per cent of teachers said plugging funding gaps was the main priority for their school’s pupil premium spending.

While this is still a relatively low percentage, it represents a significant increase from the two per cent who reported it as their main priority in 2015.

The survey also found that one in five teachers did not know what the main priorities for their pupil premium funding was, with early intervention schemes cited as the most common priority for spending, identified by 28 per cent of respondents.

Despite the apparent confusion around the funding, 98 per cent of primary and secondary leaders, as well as 79 per cent of classroom teachers, agreed that pupil premium has allowed them to target resources at raising attainment for their poorest pupils.

Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust and of the Education Endowment Foundation, said: “It is worrying that a growing number of schools feel they have to use funding for disadvantaged pupils to offset budget cuts. The pupil premium is a key lever for raising the attainment of disadvantaged pupils and it’s vital that it continues to be focused on their education.”

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