Few teachers believe pupil premium is effective, poll finds

The YouGov survey found that 43 per cent of the teachers questioned believed the premium had been effective in improving outcomes for poor pupils, while 19 per cent of respondents said they did not know.

The results showed 34 per cent of a sample of 758 teachers said the pupil premium has had ‘no effect at all on outcomes’ for deprived pupils. In fact, a further four per cent voiced concerns that the premium had a negative impact on disadvantaged students.

The results have prompted questions about whether the £2.5 billion funding, targeted at students from poorer backgrounds, has been spent correctly. The findings have risen shortly after Chancellor George Osborne announced in the Spending Review that the policy would continue, against cuts to spending in other areas.

Experts have warned that the findings are ‘worrying’ and suggests that schools are using the pupil premium in ineffective ways, such as reducing class sizes, which has limited evidence to suggest it improves results for deprived students.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “The pupil premium is providing vital support to disadvantaged children and helping to ensure every child, regardless of their background, is given the opportunity to fulfil their potential. The Public Accounts Committee found that, since [the premium’s] introduction, the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers has fallen at primary and secondary level.”

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