This report is the third and final report of the Evaluation of the Pupil Deprivation Grant (PDG) which began in April 2013.
This report is based on the third and final year of evaluation activity and focuses on in depth case study visits to 14 schools in 2015/16; these were follow up visits to those made in 2013/14 and 2014/15. This allowed the contractors to assess progress over time.
In addition, data was analysed from the National Pupil Database in 2015 to assess whether any impact of the grant on pupil attainment could be discerned.
In addition to this the report refers to findings from a survey of 200 schools conducted in 2014 during the first year of the evaluation.
This report was tasked with considering the progress observed over the three years of evaluation and to provide any relevant comparison observed over this time.
- PDG represents a significant source of funding for schools to invest in approaches to tackle disadvantage and is considered an ‘invaluable’ source of funding for specific types of activity to reduce the attainment gap.
- Some schools felt that the PDG had significantly raised the profile of disadvantage and how schools should cater for disadvantaged learners.
- Case study schools were using sophisticated tracking systems alongside their own knowledge of pupils’ circumstances to identify pupils they considered disadvantaged and/or in need of targeted additional support.
- Recent case studies highlight many examples of very effective practice in closing the attainment gap. Across the case studies there were many examples of schools developing innovative approaches to engaging with pupils and parents.
- Case study schools noted that while quantifiable evidence of impact is a long-term goal that will need time to emerge, in the short term they have noted substantial improvements in ‘softer outcomes’ such as pupil well-being, confidence and self-esteem.
- In general the impact analysis finds that the gap between eFSM and non-FSM pupils has narrowed over the past five years; it acknowledges an emerging pattern of success in reducing the ‘effect’ of being eligible for free school meals on measures of educational progress between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 in English, Maths and Science.
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