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My Lords, pupil premium funding will rise from £1.875 billion to £2.5 billion in 2014-15. The primary school pupil rate will increase from £900 to £1,300 to reflect the importance of early intervention. For the first time, all pupils who are looked after or leave care through adoption, special guardianship or residence orders will attract £1,900 from April 2014.
My Lords, this is a very important educational programme and I am pleased that it is going to have a further boost above what it already has. What advice is available to schools on how best to use the money they receive? What means does the Minister have to check that they are using the money wisely?
My Lords, advice is available from, for instance, the national college, which lists a database of schools with excellent practice. We direct schools to the teaching and learning toolkit run by the Education Endowment Foundation, which provides an accessible summary of research on key education interventions that have an impact in this area. Ofsted’s report last year on the impact of the pupil premium in schools that do this well was very informative. In addition, any school judged to be requiring improvement, where the leadership is also deemed to require improvement, is expected to carry out a pupil premium review. Schools must publish online details of what they do with the pupil premium and Ofsted will be looking very closely at its use and effect on pupils’ attainment.
As I said, my Lords, schools are required to publish online how they have spent the pupil premium and the effect it has had on attainment. If it had been used on general provision, they would have to justify how that had impacted all pupils. Ofsted inspections are increasingly focused on the achievement of disadvantaged pupils. It is now very unlikely that a school which is not showing good progression for disadvantaged pupils would make an outstanding rating.
My Lords, having information online is very helpful. It is even more so when heads are able to meet and share information about the way they have been developing programmes. I have recently seen work done by family learning programmes using part of the pupil premium. Will the Minister encourage head teachers to share good practice more directly, as this seems to have a real impact?
The noble Baroness is absolutely right. Good practice, of which there is a lot available, should be shared. We are encouraging, at every turn, all schools to do what good schools do. School-to-school support is the best way of improving performance.
My Lords, can the Minister tell us whether the Government are considering ways in which an increase in the pupil premium can be targeted at the forms of deprivation most difficult to address? Rural deprivation, for example, particularly in church schools, is very significant in our part of West Yorkshire, in the Diocese of Wakefield.
The right reverend Prelate is quite right to point out the problems with rural deprivation; it is similar to coastal deprivation. There are particular schemes that schools follow: mentoring; systemic feedback; much more involvement of parents; early intervention, particularly using the better teachers; and peer tutoring. Much can be learnt from groups like Ark, whose academy in Portsmouth, for instance, which is in a classic coastal town, has improved results in four years from 24% to 68%.
My Lords, as the Minister himself just said, Ofsted has a crucial role in improving the standards of attainment for the most disadvantaged pupils. Does he therefore agree that its effectiveness depends on it being a very strong and independent organisation? Does he therefore regret the political interference of the Secretary of State in the reappointment of the current chair of Ofsted, who by all accounts has done an excellent job?
The answer to the noble Baroness’s first question is yes. The answer to the second is that I cannot regret something that is not taking place.
The noble Lord is absolutely right. Of course, given his background, he is vastly experienced in this. I could not agree more. Ofsted is doing an outstanding job. It is our sharpest tool. The first thing that the chief inspector did was to abolish the appalling and mediocre term “satisfactory” that had been allowed to exist for years. That shows where he is coming from, and he is having a great effect. Indeed, Ofsted reports that last year our schools improved at a faster rate than any other time in history.
My Lords, will the Minister remind the House what the key measures of deprivation are against which the allocation of the pupil premium is measured? To go back to the question from the right reverend Prelate, are those standard measures applied consistently across the whole country?
The noble Baroness has asked me a question that has a very detailed answer. There are about six key measures. We attempt to apply them equally across the country, but the answer is so complicated that I will write to her, if I may.