Schools' priorities in spending pupil premium funding are likely to result in the creation of new jobs in education, a new survey has indicated.
Under the pupil premium initiative, schools receive £900 of additional funding for every child they teach who is currently or has at some point in the past six years been eligible for school meals or who has been in care continuously for at least six months.
A poll of 1,587 teachers and school leaders - conducted for the Sutton Trust - on how they utilise this investment has revealed they give precedence to early intervention schemes, designed for example to prevent children falling behind or to tackle bad behaviour.Respondents named this solution as their school's top priority in spending the pupil premium in 2012/13, while 58 per cent listed it as one of their school's top three priorities.
The second major spending priority was to provide more one-to-one tuition: 13 per cent of respondents said their schools gave this the greatest precedence in spending the pupil premium and 41 per cent identified it as one of their top three priorities.
Furthermore, nine per cent listed hiring new teaching assistants as their school's main priority and six per cent said hiring new teachers, while these were cited among the top three priorities by 33 per cent and 18 per cent of respondents respectively.
When asked how they selected what to spend pupil premium money on, 55 per cent of respondents said they factored in their past experiences of what had worked, but a further 46 per cent also looked at what had worked in other schools.
Moreover, 42 per cent also now considered research evidence on the impact of different approaches and programmes and 46 per cent evaluated the relative merits of these programmes before deciding which to adopt.
Sutton Trust chairman Sir Peter Lampl commented: "It is vital that the pupil premium money is spent well and used on those measures that can do most to improve results for our poorest pupils.
"I'm pleased to see that so many school leaders - and a growing number of classroom teachers - are turning to research on what works rather than simply relying on past practice."
Education secretary Michael Gove recently vowed on BBC's Andrew Marr Show to defend the pupil premium if the Department for Education is required to make budget cuts in the next spending review.
Posted by Charlotte Michaels