Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pupil premium vs tuition fees

From BBC News:
The poorest pupils in England will get an extra £430 spent on them next year under the government's pupil premium scheme, it has been revealed.

Schools will receive the money for every pupil whose parents have an annual income of less than £16,000.

Head teachers will be encouraged to spend it on reducing class sizes or more one-to-one tuition.
Sadly, this news will not receive a fraction of the attention that the increase in tuition fees has. and that is as true of the Lib Dem blogosphere as anywhere else.


Nich Starling said...

I fail to talk about it because it is not a Lib Dem achievement. This was a Tory policy too and our constant claims that this policy is happening only because we are in government is a lie.

Anonymous said...

Unless we empower school boards by funding schools directly rather than via the local authorities then the pupil premium will simply be topsliced out of schools funding to pay for senior council officer's bonuses and to mitigate the effects of local authority cuts elsewhere. Until then, the pupil premium is just empty spin and not a real policy that is actually delivered.
When taken together with the slashing of sixth form funding and withdrawal of the EMA, our schools policy overall will increase inequality not reduce it.
Not exactly something to shout about is it? So no wonder we aren't talking about it!

Jonathan Calder said...

So just two grudging comments. That reinforces the point I was making.

Anonymous said...

One of the reason it won't be widely reported is because local campaigners aren't currently able to approach their local schools and say "local schools shall recieve £x as a result".

Until the press operation is revitalised, yes to an almost rolling GE standard, then local campaigners won't have the ammunition to march toward the gunfire for our leaders.

Anonymous said...

"approach their local schools" should of course read "approach their local newspapers"!

Gawain said...

Norfolk Blogger, who I used to read and enjoy, is now, sadly,a LITWO - Liberal To Whinge Only. Ignore him, as I'm sure his readership stats will show most people now do.

I like the policy, and would rather money went here than people studying Refuse Mangement with Dance at the 'University' of Northampton (yes, you can!) and then expecting a 'graduate-level' job but remain unclear how schools and parents'incomes can be correlated.

dreamingspire said...

A report this morning (Monday) on BBC R4 Today (can't quite remember the time, but likely to have been after 7 am) was of a study into the effects of the pupil premium. Seemed to me (I was sorting the recycling at the time) that the overall judgement was that there would be little beneficial effect. But, like so much of the ConLib announcements, the decision is not transparent, i.e. we don't get to see the evidence, and suspect that the decision may not have been based on sound judgement, and also we are not sure that the law of unintended consequences will be thwarted (i.e. that we make sure that the LAs don't snaffle the money). But I am confident that decisions such as this are honest attempts to do better, and are not sofa and spin.

Matthew said...

The pupil premium seems like a step in a good direction. But I imagine the reluctance to publicise it too much is to do with the source of funding.

Some of the greatest beneficiaries are going to be ethnic minorities - I forget the exact numbers but something like 60% of Bangladeshis and Pakistani children attend schools where >35% of children are on FSM, compared with only 6% of 'White British'. These schools will benefit, surely a good thing.

By contrast 'middle class' schools are going to lose money, definitely relative to what they might have and perhaps in actual cash terms.

This might be the best way to split up a falling budget but it's probably a hard sell in many Lib Dem seats, I'd suggest.

ps I think greeting govt. initiatives as 'grudging' is fair enough, these things are spun and it is (as the coalition is fond of saying) 'our money'.

Gawain said...

I can answer my own question. A Lanson Boy says that "The funding will be given on the basis of the number of pupils who receive free school meals."