I’ve looked closely at which governors have viewed articles on the pupil premium, and compared the percentage of pupils at each school claiming free school meals (FSM). Splitting these schools into quintiles by proportion of FSM pupils, we see that governors of schools in the middle quintile viewed the most articles on the pupil premium. Article views dropped off progressively for governors in schools outside this middle quintile.
A similar pattern is seen for users of The Key for School Leaders, but for governors it is more pronounced. Governors in schools in the middle quintile viewed twice as many articles related to the pupil premium as those in schools in the quintile with the fewest pupils claiming FSM.
Why are governors in the schools with most pupils claiming FSM viewing fewer articles on the pupil premium? Perhaps they are already confident about finding ways to increase the attainment of disadvantaged pupils, and need less help on how to deploy the additional funding. Similarly, schools with low numbers of FSM-eligible pupils may not receive enough additional funding for governors to concern themselves with how it is used. For schools with middling number of eligible pupils, however, the funding is significant, but perhaps they are not so familiar with working to close the attainment gap between pupils from disadvantaged and more affluent backgrounds.
Our April 2014 survey with Ipsos MORI found that just over half of the school leaders and governors who responded believe the pupil premium has been effective in helping to close the attainment gap. A third do not feel it has been effective. However, when we broke these survey figures down further, we found that school governors are more positive than school leaders about the effectiveness of the funding.