While continuing to thump my 'Parents Step Up' drum, I thought I'd just raise this and see what people think.
To my mind, if they have identified (finally) that children from 'deprived' backgrounds do not achieve as they should to the extent that they feel that some funding must be ring-fenced to address the situation, how exactly does giving the money to the school even begin to address the situation?
It's not as if a school that has a high number of FSM kids is poorly resourced as a result of having an FSM cohort-so how does topping up the coffers of the school work in a targeted way for the benefit of these pupils?
Ok, so I'm stating the obvious here. If poorer children are not attaining in school how it is that this is somehow a 'problem' at the school that can be 'fixed' with additional funding?
Let's look closely at the probable causes for this FSM cohort not attaining as well as their better-off peers. I would hazard a short (by no means comprehensive list):
1. Parents possibly illiterate/innumerate- can't support child's education
2. Parents forced to work/keep antisocial hours-can't support child's education
3. social problems connected to poverty have overarching effects on homelife-can't support child's education
4. Parents unable to afford extra support materials/tutoring-can't support child's education
5. Poverty such a focus on home life that education is a remote priority-can't support child's education
I'm not trying to play any blame game here, I'm trying to illustrate that the barrier to attainment that most of these young people are facing is at home.
Remind me how giving money to the SCHOOL will help address the root cause of the failure of the FSM cohort to show attainment equal to those 'better off'?
Of course I am absolutely all for schools getting more funding for any reason! But I think it's a very cynical move on Gove's part to cut overall funding to schools and 'give back' a token amount to 'help those most needy'.
Either he thinks we're all hellishly naive, or HE is, or both!