The pupil premium is £600 per head provided to each school by the government to give extra support to the poorer children in order to bridge the gap between them and their more advantaged peers. It was set up in April 2011 and schools are allowed to spend the money as they sit fit although from September 2012 each school will have to document how the money is spent.

Ofsted have carried out a survey of nearly 300 schools which has found that although half the schools surveyed believed that the premium had a positive impact of achievement, very few could back it up with any evidence. Many schools said that it was having little or no impact on the way which they manage the schools in relation to the use of money on poor children.

Russell Hobby, General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers said that the pupil premium was introduced by the government at the same time as they cut school budgets and so inevitably the overall amount received by schools didn’t change.

The pupil premium is available for children who receive free school meals and those who are in care and was hoped to have been a lifeline to allow schools to provide extra teaching assistance to those who are seen to be vulnerable.

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