Andrew Gwynne – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Education

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Andrew Gwynne on 2016-05-18.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what monitoring her Department undertakes of the (a) allocation, (b) spending and (c) outcomes of pupil premium funding at (i) maintained schools and (ii) academy trust schools.

Mr Sam Gyimah

The conditions of grant for the pupil premium make clear that its purpose is to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils. School leaders are best placed to decide how to spend the pupil premium in line with this policy and the needs of their pupils. Schools are not prevented from using the pupil premium to fund capital projects or from carrying over funding between years.

The Department for Education supports schools to make evidence-based decisions through the work of the Education Endowment Foundation, established to identify and promote effective practice in raising the attainment of disadvantaged pupils. The Department does not monitor how Academies and maintained schools spend the pupil premium but instead holds them to account for the outcomes of eligible pupils through the publication of data in performance tables and Ofsted inspection.

Where concerns are raised about the performance of an academy then they are addressed by the Regional School Commissioner with responsibility for that area. The Department also takes seriously any concerns about the financial management of a school. We are aware of the findings of the Ofsted report on Audenshaw School relating to its use of the pupil premium, following an inspection in February 2016. We are also aware that the Hon. Member, Andrew Gwynne, has met the Regional Schools Commissioner for Lancashire and West Yorkshire, Vicky Beer, on a number of occasions to discuss his concerns about Audenshaw School Academy Trust. The Department has carefully reviewed all the information provided on this matter and has identified no grounds to take further action.