04/05/2021 Economics
DOI: 10.1080/02671522.2019.1677759 SemanticScholar ID: 208958429 MAG: 2981310491

The difficulties of judging what difference the Pupil Premium has made to school intakes and outcomes in England

Publication Summary

ABSTRACT Pupil Premium funding has been provided to schools in England since 2011, to help overcome socio-economic segregation between schools, and reduce the poverty attainment gap. Yet there is little evidence such an approach is effective. Some important stakeholders are considering whether Pupil Premium should stop or be re-routed. It is therefore essential to know whether the policy has helped in the eight years since its inception. Evaluating the impact of such a funding policy is fraught with difficulties because of changes over time in the economy, legal definitions, prevalence of disadvantage, and metrics used. Previous research has generally ignored these, and the role of length and depth of disadvantage. Hence, previous estimates of the attainment gap are insecure. This paper introduces a new analysis, based on the National Pupil Database that considers changes in the prevalence of FSM-eligibility, private school attendance, GDP and the duration of individual poverty. Net of such factors, the results show that segregation has declined unexpectedly since 2011, suggesting that the Pupil Premium may be working. The policy should continue, while research looks at the long-term impact on the poverty gap. Meanwhile, the funding could be re-calibrated to be fairer to areas with longer-term disadvantage.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Stephen Gorard

Prof. Stephen Gorard

University of Durham - Professor in the School of Education

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