Monday, 13 December 2010

Pupil premium

Pathetic says Chris Dillow of the £430 pupil premium suggesting the correlation between school spending and attainment is weak (pdf), and from that he extrapolates that around £100,000 per poorer pupil would need to be spent to equalise opportunities to the levels achieved by Nick Clegg and his privately educated Coalition partners: remember that public schoolboys have the advantages of high expectations, social contacts and good role models, whilst many of the poor have family circumstances not conducive to learning.

But the combination of higher expectations and good role models is exactly what educationalists should be responsible for. Teachers may not be able to provide social contacts, but since when did these enable students to understand calculus? And as to family circumstances not conducive to learning, that is why pupils spend seven hours a day away from their family, in an environment that is designed to be conducive to learning.

Perhaps that pupil premium could be used to further that all-important environment through homework clubs, personal tutors or 1-2-1 tuition? Now that's what I call a premium education on the level of Westminster School. It is also all about teachers, not buildings and expensive resources, where Labour spent our money. And it certainly wouldn't cost £100,000 per pupil per year.