Majority of schools risk ‘diluting’ pupil premium benefit, says watchdog

The TES is reporting claims from the National Audit Office that more than three-quarters of schools risk “diluting” the benefits of the pupil premium by using it to help all children rather than the most disadvantaged…

A report published today by the government spending watchdog concludes that 77 per cent of schools are spending the money on all pupils, meaning that some of the poorest children miss out on the “full benefit” of the cash.

The study also shows that some of the most disadvantaged schools in the country suffered a drop in funding of more than 5 per cent between 2010-11 and 2014-15, despite the extra pupil premium money.

The report coincides with another pupil premium report published by the Sutton Trust and the Education Endowment Foundation, which calls on the government to reward schools for using the cash effectively…

According to the National Audit Office’s report, the premium could bring about significant improvements for poorer children but its impact is being watered down by an over-reliance on “high cost” approaches…

But it concludes that not all disadvantaged pupils attract funding and some schools do not use the funding appropriately. It adds: “Most importantly, there is a risk that accountability and intervention mechanisms allow schools to waste money on ineffective activities for many years without effective challenge…”

More at: Majority of schools risk ‘diluting’ pupil premium benefit, says watchdog


Download the full report from the NAO at: Funding for disadvantaged pupils


Two main issues about pupil premium seem to be raised here: first, some schools are not ring-fencing it exclusively for the children it is effectively given for, and second, some schools are not spending it wisely.

Would you accept these conclusions? 

I know heads from schools that have a very high proportion of pupil premium eligible children who say it would be counter-productive to try to exclude the minority of children who are not eligible and they therefore use the money on whole school activity. Is this wrong? 

If you could make changes to the way pupil premium money is spent, what would they be?


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Categories: Policy.


  1. neilayates

    SchoolsImprove Not all barriers to learning can be removed by throwing money at them.Need address culture, parenting, low expectations

  2. AngelaStephen1

    SchoolsImprove laura_mcgann I believe without our mistakes and failures, we can’t come close to becoming our best selves.

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