The Telegraph is reporting that schools are spending money set aside for their poorest pupils to pay teacher salaries, a survey has found.
More than a quarter (27 per cent) of secondary school head teachers and 22 per cent of primary heads admitted using their pupil premium fund to “plug gaps” in their budget, according to a poll of teachers.
Of these, most said they used the extra funds – which are designated for boosting the attainment of children from deprived backgrounds – to pay for teachers and teaching assistants.
Schools are given an extra £2,300 for each pupil who is or was previously in local authority care and between £935 and £1,320 for each pupil who is eligible for free school meals. Schools also receive £300 for a child whose parents are in the Armed Forces.
Head teachers are not told exactly how to spend the funds but they are required to publish a strategy on how they intend to spend the money including an analysis of the effect this will have on pupils.
However, the poll of 1,678 teachers and heads found that less than half (45 per cent) agreed that the premium was helping to close gaps in attainment.
Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said it confirmed that funding was “totally inadequate”.
A spokesman for the DfE said: “There is more money going into our schools than ever before and, since 2017, we have given every local authority more money for every five to 16-year-old in every school and made funding fairer.”
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