The brand new colleges minister is “taking a look at” how colleges use the pupil premium to ensure some colleges usually are not spending it “in ways in which the funding shouldn’t be meant”.
Jonathan Gullis advised a fringe occasion that he wished to look at whether or not the £2.6 billion for deprived pupils was “getting used to essentially goal and drive attainment, enhance attendance, assist with behaviour”.
However authorities sources this week denied this is able to be a proper evaluate of the coverage. As an alternative, the Division for Training will work with the Training Endowment Basis to offer higher steering for a way the cash can finest be spent.
Created below the coalition authorities, the premium is paid to colleges for every pupil who has been eligible free of charge faculty meals at any level within the earlier six years.
Headteachers select the right way to spend the grant, though authorities steering factors to proof that reveals it’s simplest when used to help high-quality educating and deal with “limitations to success”, similar to attendance and behavior.
Since final yr, colleges have needed to show “how their spending choices are knowledgeable by analysis proof”.
‘Loads of good examples’ of pupil premium use
“I’m certain there are many examples in colleges the place that’s taking place nicely, however I do fear … that cash is at instances being utilized in different methods, in ways in which the funding shouldn’t be meant,” Gullis stated.
“I wish to ensure that that cash, a major quantity of funding, is used within the acceptable approach.”
Any formal evaluate would probably create excessive anxiousness in colleges at a time when the Treasury is looking for effectivity financial savings to fund tax cuts promised within the authorities’s mini funds.
It follows calls on the federal government to extend the premium after colleges have been advised they must raid their very own coffers to pay for tutoring when authorities subsidies ended.
Tutoring is among the interventions the federal government has advisable for pupil premium spending.
Ministers additionally stated earlier this yr they might “make it simpler” for colleges to make use of the £2.6 billion annual funding to “help literacy and numeracy expertise the place wanted”.
Nevertheless, the fund would retain its “core focus” on enhancing attainment for deprived pupils, they stated.