Skip to content
 Closing the attainment gap: Is the Pupil Premium working?

Closing the attainment gap: Is the Pupil Premium working?

Monday, 24 March 2014

Beyond the headlines

The headlines based on recent research into the Pupil Premium by think tank Demos have focused on the angle that the funding is failing to close the attainment gap. But do they tell the full story?

The data from Demos does suggest that despite the Pupil Premium’s express aim of closing the attainment gap between affluent pupils and those from lower income families, the gap is actually widening in as many as half of local authorities. Analysing GCSE results from 2012/13, Demos found that the national attainment gap increased by 0.3% on the previous year and now stands at 26.7%. The findings also suggest that London results are skewing the national average, as the gap rises to 29.5% when London results are removed from the equation.

However, the Demos research does not conclude that throwing the baby out with the bath water and doing away with the Pupil Premium altogether is necessarily the answer. Ian Wybron, Demos’s education expert, commented: “The Pupil Premium is a good policy in theory. Targeting funds towards disadvantaged pupils makes sense.”

He added: “It will take time to see how successful the Pupil Premium will be. But we can’t just throw money at the problem and expect these differences in attainment to disappear. Schools and local authorities need proper guidance – backed by robust research – on what works in closing the gap, including how to tackle the underlying causes both in and outside of school.”

Wybron’s comments on using guidance and research when looking for strategies to close the attainment gap echo what Ofsted and the Government have reiterated repeatedly.

Find out more

If you’re looking for effective ways to use the Pupil Premium to close the attainment gap in your school, just get in touch to find out more about how vision2learn for schools could help.

Pupil Premium: What works?

Ofsted’s Pupil Premium guidance report last year noted that the authority will look for clear proof that schools have drawn on research evidence to allocate Pupil Premium funding to activities that are most likely to improve achievement.

Useful research has been done into what works when it comes to the Pupil Premium, and much of it backs up our belief that our online qualifications and materials are a cost-effective and, importantly, justifiable way to spend the Pupil Premium.

The Sutton Trust-EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit, compiled by Durham University academics, found that the most effective strategies for using the Pupil Premium include:

  • Effective feedback on learning – vision2learn’s clear learning goals and motivation tips help learners get ready to learn.

  • Learning to learn – vision2learn learners can see their progress at a glance and are encouraged to work and think independently.

  • Digital technology – vision2learn’s online resources mean pupils can learn anytime, anywhere through modern, interactive content.

vision2learn helps to raise attainment

We also commissioned independent research* into the difference vision2learn is making to results in schools with high proportions of disadvantaged pupils. The study showed that schools in areas of high deprivation using vision2learn outperform their expected attainment levels, and the longer they’ve used vision2learn the better their results are! The fact that these schools punch above their weight in attainment terms is convincing proof that vision2learn supports schools in raising attainment.

(*CIL, March 2013)

Click here to see how schools like yours use vision2learnforschools and the Pupil Premium to successfully raise attainment

Engaging learners

Demos has also launched a pilot in four schools, giving disengaged pupils the opportunity to set their own goals with the aim of improving their motivation and participation in their own learning. At vision2learnforschools we will be very interested to see the outcomes of this pilot, particularly as it’s in line with our own approach to engaging lower attainment learners. Our learning resources, including GCSEs, vocational course and Learning to Learn tools, are all specifically structured to give learners a 'can-do' attitude which boosts their skills, confidence and motivation. They encourage independent learning and are flexible enough to allow learners to work at their own pace, giving them a sense of control and progress.

Find out more

If you’re looking for effective ways to use the Pupil Premium to close the attainment gap in your school, just get in touch to find out more about how vision2learn for schools could help.

Be the first to write a comment.