Pupil Premium

Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th January 2018.

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Photo of Michelle Donelan Michelle Donelan Conservative, Chippenham 12:00 am, 29th January 2018

Whether he plans to review the operation of the pupil premium.

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

As with all policies, we continue to monitor the pupil premium for effectiveness and value for money. Through the Education Endowment Foundation, we seek to ensure that schools are confident in using that evidence.

Photo of Michelle Donelan Michelle Donelan Conservative, Chippenham

Wiltshire teachers consistently stress their concerns that many parents fear the potential stigma of registering for free school meals, meaning their children do not get the pupil premium. I have stressed that for years. Will the Minister consider introducing an automatic link between the pupil premium and the benefits system, to ensure that all children who need additional funding get it?

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Let me be clear: we should not allow any stigma to get in the way of parents seeking the best for their children. We will continue to highlight effective practice by schools that have made a great effort to get children registered for free school meals and share that practice with all schools and local authorities.

Photo of David Drew David Drew Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

I share the opinion of Michelle Donelan. In rural areas, there is still stigma, and people will not put their children forward for free school meals and, therefore, for the pupil premium. Will the Minister look again at the criteria, to ensure that those children are not losing out?

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

We want to make it as simple as possible for schools and local authorities to determine eligibility for free meals, and we are exploring opportunities to make the registration process more efficient.

Photo of Anne-Marie Trevelyan Anne-Marie Trevelyan Conservative, Berwick-upon-Tweed

In my constituency and across North Northumberland, the pupil premium and the service pupil premium for my military children are valuable additions to the school budget, as targeted interventions for those pupils. However, they are used more effectively in some schools than others. Will the Minister tell the House what plans the Department has to get Ofsted to look more closely at usage and drive best practice across our schools?

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

There are unique challenges for servicemen and women who move around, and the Education Endowment Foundation is looking at that very seriously.

Photo of Sharon Hodgson Sharon Hodgson Shadow Minister (Public Health)

The pupil premium is there to support children from disadvantaged backgrounds and to address poor attainment. Is the Minister as concerned as I am that the Northern Powerhouse Partnership has identified that there is a growing north-south divide, which is impacting on attainment too?

Photo of Angela Rayner Angela Rayner Shadow Secretary of State for Education

I also welcome the new Secretary of State to his place. I wonder if he will join me in getting a copy of the Conservative party manifesto from the Library, where it is filed under “Political fiction”. He will notice, under the heading “Fairer funding”, a pledge to protect funding for the pupil premium. Instead, it has been cut by more than £100 million in real terms this spending period. Will he now act to keep that promise?