This following post is from the Clark to the Governors blog with some modifications to make it more teacher specific.
First: Some questions top consider:
- Does a school’s Governing Body or Senior Leadership Team (SLT) ask questions about how vulnerable groups are supported in school?
- Does the Finance Committee look at value for money when considering intervention programmes and deployment of staff?
This post is about the benefits to be gained by using the pupil premium in different ways.
- Is it cost-effective to use funding to reduce class sizes?
- Could the money be better used in other ways?
- How do you quantify the benefits from any given intervention?
The Teaching and Learning Toolkit from the Sutton Trust and the Education Endowment Foundation provides evidence on what seems to work best in providing value for money. The Sutton Trust-EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit is an independent resource which provides guidance for teachers and schools on how to use their resources to improve the attainment of disadvantaged pupils. The Toolkit is an accessible summary of educational research. It currently covers 21 topics, each summarised in terms of their potential impact on attainment, the strength of the evidence supporting them, their cost, and their applicability.
Why is research useful to schools?
Research can help you identify which ways of spending time and money are likely to lead to the biggest possible increases in pupils’ learning. As we all know School budgets are finite, and not every way of spending budget will lead to the same increase in pupil attainment; getting maximum “educational bang” for your buck is important, but not straightforward.
One of the major spending decision which this research aims to inform is how to spend the pupil premium. Introduced in 2010 the aim of the pupil premium is to raise achievement among disadvantaged children. It provides additional funding to schools for disadvantaged pupils to ensure they benefit from the same educational opportunities as pupils from wealthier families. In 2012-13 the pupil premium is worth £600 per child, and by 2014-15 this is expected to rise to approximately £1,200 per child. The research summarised in the Toolkit suggests that different ways of using the premium are likely to have very different impacts on attainment. If the pupil premium is to succeed in achieving its ambitious goals, the choices that schools make in allocating the money are of vital importance.
Like any toolkit, the Teaching and Learning Toolkit will be most useful when in the hands of professionals. The aim of the Toolkit is to support schools and teachers to make their own informed choices and adopt a more ‘evidence based’ approach; the research evidence it contains is a supplement to rather than a substitute for professional judgement. There are no guaranteed solutions or quick fixes.
Why is this important
For me the importance of understanding this is the effect it has. Like i have already said money within education is a finite resource. We all know that if the pupil premium is deemed ineffective then the money will be withdrawn. In some school where they have 30% or 40% of children falling within this category so the pupil premium could be worth £150,000+ to schools. Schools cannot afford to lose this money. We must use it well!
So, school must make this work, if they don’t the money will disappear!