The introduction of the Pupil Premium back in 2010 underlined the importance of narrowing the attainment gap and ensuring that all students are supported in achieving their potential. EduKit, who already offer a free trip-advisor-style directory that allows schools to find free and low-cost support and interventions for their students, have now responded these concerns by launching EduKit Insight - an innovative, easy-to-use tracker that allows schools to evidence the impact of the support they are using, understand which students are missing out and identify both priority areas for the school and corresponding support.
How do schools go about using their allocated funds? Learnmaker co-founder James Hannam takes a look at the best methods available to school staff.
In the 2014-15 academic year, English schools will receive their biggest ever pot of pupil premium, the additional funding designated to disadvantaged pupils to help ‘narrow the gap’ in the classroom. For any child eligible for free schools meals in the last 6 years, primary schools have access to £1,300 per student, while secondary school pupil premium have risen to £935 per student. Each year this funding has steadily increased, and yet the numbers show that the gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers is still as wide as ever in the diverging demographics of the classroom.
I strongly believe the arts have the power to transform lives and urge schools to spend a portion of the Pupil Premium on arts education. The earlier a child's engagement with the arts, the more likely they are to develop vital skills such as communication, analysis, confidence and teamwork. These skills can have hugely positive effects on children’s academic achievements, helping them better engage with the mainstream curriculum and in turn improving their results at school.
Whilst there is mounting pressure on today’s teachers to improve their pupils’ academic achievements in traditional subjects such as maths, English or science, the benefits of arts education on these very subjects is becoming ever more apparent. Throughout The Prince's Foundation for Children & the Arts' Start programme, for example, which reaches out to disadvantaged pupils and creates sustainable partnerships between their schools and local cultural venues, we asked teachers about the positive correlation they had seen between arts education and academic achievement.