The schools we work with at Action Tutoring receive Pupil Premium funding for each eligible young person. To qualify for Pupil Premium funding the parents’ income needs to be below £16,190 (at any point in the last six years). Providing for a family on less than this wage is very challenging and living in this poverty creates multiple barriers for young people to achieve academically.
Class, race, income, family background and disabilities have historically been pointed to as the root cause of education inequality and social mobility. This remains indisputable, but in recent reporting on social mobility, geography has also emerged as a recognised barrier. This has been taken up by the government with their launch of a strategy to improve “social mobility cold spots” – the areas of the country with the worst social mobility outcomes.
Nick Clegg, who has just accepted the position as chair of The Social Mobility Foundation, writes in The Times: “Pupils in under-performing parts of the country [are] far more likely to be taught by teachers who are less qualified, less experienced and more likely to quit their jobs than pupils who attend schools in more affluent parts of the country”.
Couple this with ongoing teacher recruitment crisis and we see the issue exacerbated. With regional disparities in the UK the widest in Western Europe, the issue of education inequality is unlikely to disappear quickly. At Action Tutoring we are so grateful for your unfaltering commitment to your pupils – enabling us to reach more and more young people in cities and areas up and down the country – helping them to achieve regardless of their location and other barriers.
Free school meal changes
The provision of free school meals for children after Year 2 is based on parents’ eligibility for benefits, including Income Support and Jobseeker’s Allowance. The future is uncertain as these benefits are being replaced by Universal Credit as part of the Department for Work and Pension’s welfare reform plans.
Free school meals not only help struggling families but are widely used within the education sector to help identify those in need of additional support to succeed at school.
In response to the government consultation mentioned in the last policy update our main funder, Impetus-PEF have made some recommendations:
Automatic enrolment to receive free school meals. This would be hugely beneficial to the young people whose parents currently do not enrol them for free school meals. This often happens because the parents do not realise they are eligible or they view it as demeaning.
Linking free school meals to inflation will enable young people from low-earning households in the future to benefit from additional opportunities the funding can bring.
You can read the full report here.
- The best way to start closing the attainment gap between poor kids and their peers? Reading, reading, reading – One former school leader who led a school in a deprived area gives his thoughts on the attainment gap.
Adult financial skills are extremely weak – A study by Cambridge University and University College London found “striking weaknesses” in adults’ financial skills, the BBC reports.