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October 2010
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Proposed pupil premium could increase school funding inequalities

This morning, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg confirmed that the Government will introduce a 'pupil premium' in England. This will provide extra money to state schools for each pupil from a disadvantaged background.

The Department for Education is currently consulting on the design of this pupil premium, and today IFS researchers publish their response to the consultation. Its two key conclusions are that:

  • Overall, it would be broadly 'progressive' in the sense that the average percentage increase in funding would be greater for schools that are more deprived;
  • But schools in more deprived areas would, under the proposed model, receive a smaller pupil premium than similarly-deprived schools in more affluent areas.

Luke Sibieta, a co-author of the report and a senior research economist at IFS, said:

"The pupil premium proposed by the Government would be broadly progressive since more deprived schools have many more pupils who would attract additional funding. That the pupil premium should be higher in less deprived areas is hard to justify: it would widen inequalities in funding for deprived pupils, rather than reduce them. Attaching the same pupil premium to all disadvantaged pupils regardless of where they live would not only be simpler, it would also be more consistent with the Government's stated objectives."

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