Nearly a quarter of teachers think that the pupil premium – funds which schools receive to help improve the results of their disadvantaged pupils – is not being targeted at low income students in their schools, according to a new Sutton Trust poll released today.

The pupil premium has been paid to schools since April 2011 to help them raise the attainment of their poorest students. From September 2014 total pupil premium funding will increase to £2.5bn. Schools will receive £1,300 for each eligible primary pupil and £935 for secondary pupils.

23% of teachers say their school uses the funds to raise the attainment of all pupils or to pay for activities affected by school budget reductions. A further 22% say their school uses pupil premium funding to raise attainment for students who are falling behind while half (53%) say it is used to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils.

The survey of 1,163 teachers, conducted by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), also finds a growing number of school leaders are consulting the Sutton Trust-Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) Teaching and Learning Toolkit, an accessible resource based on research evidence to help schools find effective ways to spend pupil premium funding.

45% of senior leaders – heads, assistant heads and deputies – now say they use the Toolkit, compared with 36% in 2013 and 11% in 2012. The proportion rises to 54% among secondary leaders.

However, the survey results indicate that many schools may still not be spending their premium funds on methods shown by the toolkit to be particularly cost-effective.

Early interventions schemes are most often cited as a priority (55%), followed by one-to-one tuition (39%).  But only 13% of all teachers cite pupil feedback and 2% peer-to-peer tutoring, both methods shown to be highly cost-effective. Moreover, over a fifth (21%) of teachers say they don’t know their school’s main priority for pupil premium spending.

Sir Peter Lampl, Chair of the Sutton Trust and of the Education Endowment Foundation said;

“The pupil premium was established to break the cycle of disadvantage that begins when poor children underachieve at school. It’s vital that the funds to help these pupils are well targeted and used in a cost-effective way.

“We’re delighted that ever increasing numbers of school leaders are consulting the Sutton Trust-Education Endowment Foundation Toolkit but I hope that more teachers will use approaches shown by the Toolkit to be particularly effective.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. The Sutton Trust is a foundation set up in 1997, dedicated to improving social mobility through education. It has published over 140 research studies and funded and evaluated programmes that have helped hundreds of thousands of young people of all ages, from early years through to access to the professions.
  2. The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) surveyed a representative sample of 1,163 teachers in March 2014 in both primary and secondary schools for their Teacher Voice omnibus survey.
  3. Schools receive pupil premium funding for pupils who have been registered as eligible for free school meals (FSM) at any point in the last 6 years or have been looked after by the local authority. In 2013 37.9% of FSM eligible pupils achieved five GCSEs (including English and maths) at A*-C grades compared to 64.6% of other pupils. At age 7, 79% of FSM pupils achieved the expected level in reading in 2013 compared to 91% of all other pupils.
  4. Ofsted assesses schools on the attainment of their disadvantaged pupils; the progress made by their disadvantaged pupils, and the gap in attainment between disadvantaged pupils and their peers. The School Information (England) Regulations 2012 also require schools to publish online information about how they have spent the pupil premium and the impact it has had on attainment.
  5. The Toolkit summarises over 10,000 pieces of educational research relevant to improving the attainment of disadvantaged pupils. It covers 34 topic areas, ranging from arts participation to collaborative learning, using the best research available to summarise the average impact on pupils’ progress, average cost and strength of evidence for each area.
 Which of the following best describes how your school treats the resources provided by the pupil premium?
AllPrimarySecondary
 %%%
target resources to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils535055
target resources to raise attainment for those pupils that are falling behind222520
target resources to raise attainment for all pupils161814
continue activities that would not otherwise happen due to funding pressures or reductions in other areas of the school budget749
No response222
N =1163602561
Due to rounding, percentages may not sum to 100.
The percentages in this table are weighted by FSM rates for all schools and for secondary schools separately. Percentages are not weighted for primary schools.
Source: NFER Teacher Voice Omnibus Survey March 2014.
 

  

How does your school decide which approaches and programmes to adopt to improve pupil learning?

Secondary Senior leaderSecondary Classroom teacher
 %%
Using past experience of what works7238
Considering research evidence on the impact of different approaches and programmes7037
Evaluating different approaches and programmes then deciding which to adopt6233
Considering which approaches and programmes are the most cost effective3617
Reading the Sutton Trust/Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) toolkit5411
Learning from what works in other schools7343
Consulting the schools governing body147
Consulting the Local Authority77
Other74
Don’t know029
No response00
N =85476
More than one answer could be given so percentages may sum to more than 100.
The percentages in this table are weighted by FSM rates for secondary schools.
This question has been filtered to a subset of respondents.
Source: NFER Teacher Voice Omnibus Survey March 2014.
With the money received through the Pupil Premium, what is the main priority for extra spending at your school in 2013/2014?
AllPrimarySecondary
 %%%
Reducing class sizes434
Additional teaching assistants793
Additional teachers9134
More one-to-one tuition161519
Peer-to-peer tutoring schemes for pupils001
Improving feedback between teachers and pupils / providing more feedback that is effective444
Early intervention schemes293126
Extending the breadth of the curriculum232
Improving the classroom or school environment221
Offsetting budget cuts elsewhere325
Other332
Don’t know211428
None010
No response000
N =1163602561
With the money received through the Pupil Premium, what is the second priority for extra spending at your school in 2013/2014?
AllPrimarySecondary
 %%%
Reducing class sizes536
Additional teaching assistants10128
Additional teachers887
More one-to-one tuition141613
Peer-to-peer tutoring schemes for pupils102
Improving feedback between teachers and pupils / providing more feedback that is effective463
Early intervention schemes161816
Extending the breadth of the curriculum573
Improving the classroom or school environment341
Offsetting budget cuts elsewhere213
Other222
Don’t know658
None111
No response221729
N =1163602561
With the money received through the Pupil Premium, what is the third priority for extra spending at your school in 2013/2014?
AllPrimarySecondary
 %%%
Reducing class sizes324
Additional teaching assistants9126
Additional teachers565
More one-to-one tuition9108
Peer-to-peer tutoring schemes for pupils102
Improving feedback between teachers and pupils / providing more feedback that is effective556
Early intervention schemes10118
Extending the breadth of the curriculum583
Improving the classroom or school environment444
Offsetting budget cuts elsewhere334
Other352
Don’t know10910
None112
No response302337
N =1163602561
Due to rounding, percentages may not sum to 100.
The percentages in this table are weighted by FSM rates for all schools and for secondary schools separately. Percentages are not weighted for primary schools.
Source: NFER Teacher Voice Omnibus Survey March 2014.

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