Skip to main content
Back to events

17 February 2021 - 17 February 2021

1:00PM - 2:00PM

Online seminar using Zoom

Share page:
This is the image alt text School of Education main building

Part of the School of Education Research Seminar Series.

Assessing the impact of Pupil Premium funding on poverty segregation and the attainment gap

Speakers : Professor Stephen Gorard with Dr Nadia Siddiqui and Professor Beng Huat See, School of Education, Durham University

Using funding to improve educational outcomes is a common policy approach, usually assumed to be effective; but it is less commonly agreed how the money should be routed, and what it should be used for. This paper examines the possible impact of one approach wherein extra funding is provided by the state to schools, rather than teachers, families, or students. Pupil Premium funding has been provided to schools in England since 2011, to help overcome socio-economic segregation between schools, and reduce the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers. Yet there is little international evidence that such a funding system can raise attainment directly. Some important stakeholders are now considering whether Pupil Premium should cease, be used for more general school financing, or have a new objective such as social mobility or hiring more teachers. It is therefore essential to know whether the policy has had a beneficial impact in the nine years since its inception. Evaluating the impact of such a funding policy is not easy because it is national and so there is no simple comparator group, and the relevant outcomes are also sensitive to demographic, economic and other concurrent policy changes. These issues are addressed using the National Pupil Database and Annual Schools Census, and by comparing the poverty gaps in schools from 2006 to 2019, focusing on pupils who would have attracted Pupil Premium funding, if it existed, in any year and under any economic conditions. After 2010, the gap in segregation between these long-term disadvantaged pupils and their peers became substantially lower in all year groups, and this is likely due to the attraction of the extra funding. The picture for attainment is less clear. The gap narrowed at every stage after 2011, but for KS2 and KS4 (not KS1) it grew again from 2014 with new curricula, grades, and attempts to make tests harder. Two policies seem to be in contradiction. Overall though, on this evidence, we argue for retaining the Pupil Premium policy.

This will be a virtual seminar using Zoom. Contact for details about how to take part.