Schools should ignore the opinions of senior staff and base their pupil premium spending decisions on evidence, a report states.

According to the National Governance Association (NGA) they say that some schools are too inward looking.

Instead, the report says that for a school to get the best outcome for its poorest pupils they should account for every pound of their pupil premium funding that they spend.

The organisation questioned 875 trustees and governors for their views on the issue and examined 36 pupil premium strategies.

In a report, the NGA says that the best outcomes for disadvantaged pupils come after every pound of the budget has been spent and accounted for.

That’s rather than the school using ‘vague estimations or rounded numbers’, the report writers say.

Researchers say that a school needs to create a monitoring process and lay down the criteria for the successful use of the premium at the outset.

‘Improvement to produce pupil premium strategies’

The report says: “There is scope for significant improvement to produce pupil premium strategies and some schools are struggling to provide a rationale for the initiative.”

While some schools will make evidence driven decisions when it comes to budgeting for their pupil premium cash, some schools are still too ‘inward looking’.

The report says that while internal data is important in this decision-making process there needs to be a wider range of sources to help complement a properly informed decision making process.

There’s also not enough money being spent on pastoral support with schools identifying low attendance, individual pupil needs, social and emotional barriers and also issues with family life as the barriers to learning for poor pupils.

Schools do not appear to be tackling the root causes of the challenges

However, the NGA says that some schools ‘do not appear to be tackling the root causes of the challenges they diagnose’.

Instead, school should take up a more holistic outlook when it comes to deciding how their pupil premium should be spent.

Also, governors should appreciate that not all pupils are the same and they need to study the evidence on how different types of disadvantage can be addressed.


More information

To read the National governance associations report, ‘Spotlight on disadvantage’, then visit the link to their website.