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Paying the price

13 October 2010

Schools could soon be allowed to positively discriminate against children from wealthy backgrounds in return for extra funding if proposals to reform the admissions code are accepted by the Government.

Under the proposals schools would be paid a ‘pupil premium’ (PP) for every child they teach from a disadvantaged background. A consultation on the PP proposals is currently underway and will close on 18 October.

What is not clear from the consultation is how much freedom schools and academies may be given to target the poorest children. They might only be permitted to offer preferential access to poorer pupils within existing catchment areas or there may be a more radical policy implemented which would allow those on free schools meals who live outside a school’s catchment area to benefit. Whatever is decided it is important that sufficient checks and measures are put in place to ensure that any additional resources benefit those that need it most.

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