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Show & Tell Week 8: Disadvantaged Pupil Budget

It’s always important to be well versed in the sector that you’re working in, but we find that when working within education it’s even more important to have a full understanding of the industry.

Not only does it help us to deliver products and services that counteracts struggles our users are facing, but it allows us to put ourselves in their shoes and understand the strain they are under regarding new laws, budget cuts and how changes in the government affect them. That’s why for this week’s Show & Tell, Hamish from Account Management spoke to us about the importance of the Disadvantaged Pupil (DP) budget, and the impact it has on schools, so we can better understand the implications.

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The Disadvantaged Pupil budget is a growing way of funding. In 2013/2014, the overall spend on DP rose to £1.25 billion and for this academic year, 2016/2017, it is said to be worth £2.4bn.

In order for a student to qualify for DP they would also qualify for Free School Meals (FSM) or have done in the past 6 years, be under state foster care or have parents in the armed forces. Currently, the vast majority of the budget, 92%, is attributed to students who qualify through the deprivation element.

The reason for the DP budget is to help to improve the chances of students who are from poorer backgrounds as there is a strong link between poverty and low attainment. This money aims to counteract this by enabling schools to provide better support for these pupils through a number of different initiatives, so they can work at raising student attainment and improve their chances of a successful life and career outside of education.

Class is currently the biggest indicator of academic success with FSM pupils being 4x more likely to be excluded from school than non FSM, and the age of 16 showing the biggest achievement gap associated with class. Furthermore, according to NUT research, 28% of children are currently living in poverty.

This shows us why it’s so important for schools to use the DP budget on tools and resources that will have a positive effect on these students, so we can work at minimising the class divide and boosting attainment.

There isn’t much restriction in the ways in which the budget can be spent. Ideas include hiring more Teaching Assistants so students receive more one-on-one attention in class, purchasing technology supplies that can help to enhance the learning process, starting breakfast clubs to ensure students don’t start school hungry and help to increase attendance, and introducing homework clubs so students are provided with a space to study and complete work outside of school hours which may not be available at home. These are just a few ideas of initiatives that can be put in place that can have positive impacts of attainment and work towards improving student outcomes and engagement.

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