Pupil premium could be better used to help all disadvantaged children
Release date: 06 Sep 2012
New Barnardo’s research looks at how Government directs funding to improve the education outcomes of the country’s poorest children and finds that this does not adequately support all disadvantaged children throughout their education.
Three and four-year-olds are falling through the gap
Barnardo’s report ‘Mind the Gap: Ensuring All Disadvantaged Children Benefit from the Pupil Premium’ is the first holistic analysis of Government ‘education uplift’ funding.
It highlights an inexplicable gap in funding, which is seeing three and four-year-olds missing out on the additional support provided to two year olds and then school children via the pupil premium. This gap has the potential to undo all the good work done by nursery practitioners between the ages of two and three years.
Yet evidence shows that children from poorer homes begin to fall behind their better-off classmates from an early age and this gap continues to grow throughout the course of their schooling.
How we can close the gap
Currently, the Government supports disadvantaged children with additional funding throughout their school life – from the ages of two to 18 – except between the age of three and the age at which they start school.
The report recommends that the Government could fill this gap - at no extra cost, by stretching the existing pupil premium so that it also supports disadvantaged three and four year olds. This would help to close the attainment gap between poor children and their better off classmates - a key factor in the Government’s plan to improve social mobility.
The Coalition Government has unequivocally emphasised its commitment to increasing the social mobility of disadvantaged children and from this month will begin to extend free nursery hours to the most disadvantaged two-year-olds.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Anne Marie Carrie, said:
The Government needs to put its money where its mouth is and ensure the most vulnerable three and four-year-olds get the same additional support as school children.
This investment in early years is crucial; it can help children advance, catch up, and overcome disadvantage. It’s one of the most important and powerful factors in determining a child’s future.
Mind this gap to ensure that the dice are not irrevocably loaded against our poorest children well before they arrive at the school gates.”