Schools should use extra cash 'to reduce inequality'

Oliver Wright
Sunday 13 May 2012 22:12

Schools across England will be assessed on how they spend the Government's new pupil premium and could be judged as "failing" if the money does not help reduce inequality among the children they teach.

The plan is among a package of measures to ensure the £600 bonus that schools get for each of the most disadvantaged pupils they teach is effective. Outlining the plan today, Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, is expected also to announce new flexibility to allow schools to pay more to retain exceptional teachers – using pupil premium cash. Other plans include funding of £500 per pupil for summer schools to bridge the gap between primary and secondary education, and career incentives for teachers willing to work in schools with large numbers of disadvantaged pupils.

The pupil premium is extra money paid to schools for children who are or have been on free school meals and children in care. This year it is worth £600 per child. The total spend by 2015 will be £2.5bn a year, across 1.8 million children. But Mr Clegg will say that while schools will get considerable freedom in how to spend the cash, they will be judged by results.

"Ofsted will be looking forensically at how well their pupil premium pupils do," he said. "School excellence is not simply about great overall results. The best schools must be engines of social mobility too."

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