Call to extend pupil premium to youngest

NURSERIES and childminders should be given extra funding for the poorest children to help boost their achievement, a senior member of Ofsted will say today.

Sue Gregory, the inspectorate’s national director of education, is expected to call for a Pupil Premium-style scheme to be set up for children as young as two in a speech in London.

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

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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 children.

Speaking at Ofsted’s first annual early years lecture, Ms Gregory is expected to argue that funding for nurseries and childminders should be aimed at the poorest areas of England to improve the quality of early years education.

“Universal provision has spread resources very thinly and it’s crucial that lessons are learnt from current schemes in operation,” she will say.

Schools receive additional funding for their most disadvantaged pupils through the Pupil Premium. A similar scheme could work in early years to help ensure that high quality staff are employed where the two-year-old offer is most needed.”

Ms Gregory is expected to call for those working with pre-school children to have better qualifications, and to be paid more.