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Social Research

Evaluation of the Pupil Deprivation Grant (PDG)

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  • Release date: 3 December 2015
The grant was launched in 2012 and provides additional funding to schools based on the number of pupils on their roll eligible for Free School Meals or who are Looked After Children.

Schools are provided with and are directed to spend the additional funds on evidence-based interventions to help close the attainment gap.

This report is based on in-depth case studies with 22 schools over the years 2013/14 and 2014/15 and focuses in particular on 10 case studies completed in spring and summer 2015. The report also contains findings from an initial analysis of data from the National Pupil Database.

Key findings for year 2

  • Case study schools were using sophisticated data systems to identify individual pupils to receive additional support via PDG-funded interventions. The PDG has helped to instigate improvements in the way some case study schools collect and use data.
  • All schools monitored pupil-level data against individual targets. A few schools explained that they had not previously monitored eFree School Meal pupils separately, or that they had not previously monitored the impact of specific interventions.
  • There are examples of schools making spending decisions, and changing the way in which interventions operate, on the basis of the data they have collected to improve effectiveness.
  • The case studies suggest that the biggest impact of the PDG on staffing has been to increase the number and the skills of Teaching Assistants (TAs) employed by schools. TAs are often trained on implementing and evaluating the impact of the interventions they deliver and as a result are becoming highly skilled members of the school staff. The PDG has led to an increase in the size of the school staff in virtually all case study schools.
  • The way the PDG is spent by schools appears to have evolved over the grant’s lifetime. Several case study schools explained they had initially invested in resources and establishing data monitoring systems to track pupils’ progress using the funds, but that funds are now concentrated on the delivery of interventions, and specifically on funding staff time to deliver them. 


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