Teachers’ reluctance set to undermine Government’s education initiative

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The Government’s flagship pupil premium could have a limited impact on the poor children it is designed to help, a charity has suggested.

Fewer than 3 per cent of teachers say they are planning to use the money to allow pupils to teach their classmates and to give good feedback on students’ performance, according to a report by the Sutton Trust.

But these are the most cost-effective measures, and if done properly, are likely to boost pupils’ achievement, the Trust claims.

The Sutton Trust’s latest report draws on a survey of almost 1,700 primary and secondary teachers, who were asked how they planned to spend the pupil premium money that their school receives.

The premium, a key initiative for the coalition Government, is extra funding attached to disadvantaged children, following them as they move schools.

It is given to pupils who are eligible for free school meals – a measure of poverty – with the aim of closing the achievement gap between richer and poorer youngsters.

These findings show that 15 per cent of those questioned say reducing class sizes is their top priority for extra spending, with 16 per cent saying they will focus on early intervention schemes.

One in ten (10 per cent) said that more one to one tuition will be the top priority, with 13 per cent citing additional teaching assistants or teachers, and 8 per cent saying pupil premium funding will be used to offset budget cuts elsewhere.

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