Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg MP, has this week announced a new scheme to encourage schools to find effective ways of addressing the attainment gap between children from different socio-economic backgrounds.
Whilst some would argue that social mobility is influenced more by a child’s background and environment, there is no doubt that increases in pupil premium funding from £625m in 2011-12 to £1.25bn in 2012-13 will be well received by many schools. However, with the increased allocation from £488 per FSM pupil in 2011-12 to £600 in 2012-13 will come greater accountability. Schools will soon be required to publish how they have used the funding online and measures will be introduced to capture the performance of disadvantaged children in league tables.
There is the usual political mudslinging surrounding this issue but what remains clear is that headteachers will continue to do the very best for all of their pupils. If there is extra financial resource to help them achieve this then so be it. Clegg listed lots of “innovative” ways that schools have successfully used pupil premium funding and this included key strands of Project HE:RO – breakfast clubs, lunchtime activities, pupil mentors and after school provision. The extension of support for disadvantaged pupils now also incorporates summer school programmes aimed at helping Year 6 to 7 transition, something else that HERO is heavily involved with through a new project called XLR8 Camps.
Evolve is working hard to gather empirical data of its own that will help to support investment in Health Mentor provision from schools and headteachers. In the meantime, consider if Project HE:RO could further maximise your return on pupil premium spend and what you will do with the £10,000!