Pupil Premium and SEN

I have discussed Pupil Premium before with home education and AS communities. Notable points include:

1. Deprivation and disadvantaged are nebulous terms that lack a precise meaning but they are regularly used as synonyms for a short English word that every man on the street knows the meaning of. That word is poor.

2. Pupil Premium results from children eligible for free school meals or those who have left LA care, on the basis of (dubious?) academic research that such children tend to underperform academically.

3. Pupil Premium is given to the school to spend almost as they like and is not ringfenced towards particular children or to purchase specific resources or to employ staff with a clearly defined role.

4. A high proportion of the children who bring in the Pupil Premium money do not require any additional services or money spent on them. Yes, it really is true as free school meals (the vast majority of children who bring in Pupil Premium) is an easily obtained but incredibly blunt statistic that does not take into account factors like SEN or language difficulties.

5. As a result of (4) it is commonplace for schools to spend Pupil Premium money on services for children with SEN even if they are not bringing in Pupil Premium money themselves.

6. Although clear figures are not easy to come by, estimates are that a high proportion of money for SEN (that does not include physical disabilities) come from Pupil Premium because of difficulties in obtaining funding for SEN elsewhere.

7. Many types of SEN are independent of child's family financial background and are not a result of poverty.

8. Schools are obsessed with literacy and numeracy which means that children with SEN who meet the National Curriculum targets for their year group are given lower priority for SEN services than children who do not meet the targets.

9. Schools have spent Pupil Premium on all sorts of dubious things ranging from winter coats to prizes for attendance that are not directly educational. There have been concerns that Pupil Premium money is being used to replace parental responsibility.

Although this is a contentious concept. Should Pupil Premium be reformed to re-allocate it away from children eligible for free school meals towards children with SEN or would this be bashing the poor?

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