Updated guidance on Pupil Premium funding – Friday 21 June 2019

This week I report on updated guidance on Pupil Premium funding and how schools should spend it as well as the publication of the Government’s response to its review of Children in Need and the extension of the Chairs’ training programme run by the NGA.

Updated guidance on Pupil Premium funding and how schools should spend it
On Monday the DfE updated its guidance on how much pupil premium funding schools will receive for the financial year 2019 to 2020 and added further information about how schools should plan to use the funding.

Whilst it indicates school leaders are best placed to decide how to use the pupil premium to improve disadvantaged pupils’ academic attainment it strongly encourages school leaders to consider evidence on what will have the most impact for their pupils. Since 2011 the Education Endowment Foundation has worked with thousands of schools across the country to establish what works best in raising pupils’ attainment and has published a guide that explains what schools have found works best when spending the pupil premium to improve results.

Schools must publish their strategy for using the pupil premium on their website and from September 2019 schools are encouraged to move away from full annual reviews that can be time-consuming and instead consider a multi-year strategy, such as one covering a 3 year period for pupil premium use, with light touch annual reviews that will continue to form the school’s pupil premium statement. This will help school leaders to take a longer view of the support the grant will provide and align their plan with the wider school improvement strategy. Doing this will give schools greater certainty when planning their:

  • expenditure
  • recruitment
  • teaching practice
  • staff development

The Teaching Schools Council has produced templates to help schools present their pupil premium strategy.

Review of Children in Need
The Government has concluded its review of support for children in need of help and protection to help it to understand why their educational outcomes are so poor and what further support they might require. These are children who need the support of a social worker. The response to the review was published on Monday and key findings/ conclusions are set out below:

  • Speeding up admissions – taking forward changes to the School Admissions Code and improving the speed of the in-year admissions process so that vulnerable children can access a school place as quickly as possible.
  • Improving training – making sure the mental health difficulties of children with social workers is tackled by ensuring both initial teacher training and the social work standards equip professionals with the right knowledge and skills on mental health.
  • Expansion of virtual headteachers – the Government will explore whether there’s a case for “extending and adapting” the virtual school head role.
  • Better sharing of information between councils and schools – making sure social workers are informed when a child they support is excluded from school, and closer working between schools and councils to improve educational outcomes for disadvantaged pupils.
  • Making sure disadvantaged children are in education, by taking forward the Timpson Review recommendations and tackling off-rolling, absence and exclusions.

Eligibility extended for Chairs’ training programmes
All governing bodies in England can now access two fully-funded places on the Leading Governance Development for Chairs programme run by the NGA. The training is worth at least £1,000 per school and comes as a result of an agreement by the DfE.

The Development for Chairs programme is suitable for chairs, vice chairs, committee chairs and future chairs. It provides opportunities for developing leadership skills and confident governance.