Research Matters: Evaluation of the Pupil Premium
Professor Alan Dyson and Dr. Kirstin Kerr
Wednesday 19th March 2014, 12-1pm
Room C3.19/20, Ellen Wilkinson Building
The Pupil Premium was introduced by the Coalition Government as one of its flagship policies for closing the attainment gap between ‘disadvantaged’ pupils (principally, those entitled to free school meals) and their peers. In contrast to many policies of previous governments, the funding was allocated directly to schools with no interference from local authorities or other intermediary bodies, on the grounds that headteachers know best what is needed in their schools.A team from MIE was involved in the national evaluation of the Premium as part of a consortium including a commercial research organisation, an educational economist and education researchers in a second university. The evaluation found that, in many cases, the Premium was simply replacing funding that had been lost by schools. Moreover, Ofsted imposed strict accountability procedures for the use of the Premium which effectively compromised headteacher autonomy, with the result that there were significant tensions between the practices schools believed were effective and those they were expected to pursue.This session will explore these substantive issues. In addition, it will explore methodological issues around the design of policy evaluations, and the practical and political issues of working within consortia and on evaluations commissioned by government.