Nick Clegg has long championed the pupil premium, new money allocated to schools to help boost the educational chances of children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds. Today’s Guardian reports how he plans in a major speech on Monday to emphasise its importance in improving social mobility in the UK:
Nick Clegg will next week set out long-term plans to break the grip of private schools on the British establishment when he publishes proposals for a surge in social mobility based on the “pupil premium”. … Clegg, launching a two-week drive on social mobility, which he sees as one of the central goals of his deputy premiership, will set out in a speech on Monday how he wants the £1.25bn pupil premium to be used by schools.
Schools currently get a pupil premium of £488 per child on free school meals from central government. But the cash is not ringfenced, so once schools are handed the money by central government, there is no requirement to spend it in any specific way.
Clegg, instinctively opposed to central targets, has rejected setting requirements on how the cash is spent. He will instead highlight the most effective programmes without ruling out others. But school performance tables will be required to show the achievement of deprived pupils covered by the pupil premium. Schools will also be made to publish information online about how they have used the premium.
Clegg has insisted that all his school reforms, including more academies, free schools and greater discipline, are designed to help the poorest children in society.
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