Pupil premium needs to follow disadvantaged pupils

Efforts to make the school funding system more equitable might help to improve the UK’s record on social mobility since this is correlated with inequality.

A 2010 evaluation of education policies by the ESRC Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) suggests that a ‘pupil premium’ that would follow disadvantaged pupils to the schools they attend would help to correct inequities in how funding is allocated to schools12.

The report states that local authorities decide on their own funding formulae for schools. Although they have to take account of deprivation, they can decide how to do it and to what extent. The result is that schools facing the same level of deprivation receive different amounts of funding, depending on where they are located. Therefore, there is no guarantee that individual pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds would benefit from the extra school funding even if the pupil premium were adopted.

However, evidence clearly suggests that economically disadvantaged pupils benefit disproportionately from rises in general school expenditure. Hence, a pupil premium that follows disadvantaged pupils could help correct inequities in the school funding system.

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