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Pupils & learning

Spotlight on disadvantage campaign


NGA research report: insights for governors and trustees

NGA’s Spotlight on Disadvantage campaign is informed by an NGA research report undertaken to explore the governing board’s role in spending, monitoring and evaluating the pupil premium.

Since the introduction of the pupil premium in April 2011, little has been done to recognise the role of the governing board in spending the funding and more needs to be done to understand the impact of governance on supporting disadvantaged pupils.

To fill this gap in the literature, NGA conducted a survey of 875 governors and trustees as well as document analysis of 36 pupil premium statements.

The key findings from the report are:

  • Characteristics of the most effective pupil premium strategies (i.e. those that most strongly correlate with good outcomes for pupils) include: accounting for how every pound of the pupil premium budget is spent; having clear monitoring and success criterion for each initiative; and clarifying which group of pupils will receive funding.
  • Analysis uncovered a 'disconnect' between the pastoral barriers to educational achievement facing pupils eligible for the pupil premium and the teaching and learning initiatives which schools are funding through the pupil premium.
  • Governing boards view internal data and the opinions of senior members of staff more favourably than external data, academic research and the EEF toolkit when considering how to spend the pupil premium.

See the report

Sir John Dunford, ex-national pupil premium champion for the Department for Education

“Governing boards have a major responsibility in holding school leaders to account for the spending of pupil premium and, in particular, for its impact. All pupil premium spending should be ring-fenced, evidence-based and making a measurable impact, and it is the duty of the governing board to both agree the pupil premium strategy, monitor its progress and report on its impact. This research will be very helpful to boards in this important part of their role.”

Mike Treadaway, Associate Research Fellow at FFT Education Datalab

“The NGA report should be read by all with an interest in improving the attainment of disadvantaged pupils. The report includes a wide-ranging summary of existing research and couples this with insightful analysis of the role of governors and decisions made by school leaders. The recommendations, particularly those for more widespread use of evidence to inform decisions and the need to look at a wider range of strategies, deserve careful consideration.”