Today the Catholic Education Service (CES) welcomed the OFSTED review of Pupil Premiums as an opportunity for the Government to ensure disadvantaged children receive the additional support.
Currently Pupil Premiums are calculated using the number of children receiving Free School Meals. Annual census data from Catholic schools in England show that the number of children receiving Free School Meals does not reflect the proportion of children from deprived areas highlighted by the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI).
IDACI data provided by the Department for Education highlights that despite a lower than average take-up of Free School Meals in Catholic schools, 19% of Catholic Pupil (compared with 14% nationally) come from the most deprived 10% of areas. Likewise the data shows that Catholic schools have consistently smaller proportions of pupils from least deprived areas.
The CES is keen to promote a pupil premium calculated from a number of indicators which take into consideration addition indicators including Free Schools Meals and IDACI.
Greg Pope, Deputy Director of CES said “We support the government’s aim to ensure that funding for children from disadvantaged families is available to support them in their education. This review provides the Department for Education with the opportunity to evaluate how Pupil Premiums are calculated to ensure that all children from disadvantaged backgrounds will receive this support. A basket of indicators is preferable as our evidence highlights that there are many children from deprived areas who, for whatever reason, do not take up Free School Meals.”
Responding to Michael Gove’s education reforms, the Catholic Education Service (CES) has called for Religious Education (RE) to remain a priority in schools.
The reforms suggest that greater focus is required in ‘the core academic subjects of English, mathematics, sciences, history, geography and languages.’ The CES will continue to work with the Department for Education to ensure RE is not excluded from this new model, and that standards and rigour applied to examinations in core subjects will be extended to RE.
Father Tim Gardner OP, CES’s RE advisor said “RE lies at the heart of the curriculum in Catholic schools, and is an essential part of the curriculum in all schools. We will work with the Government and other faith groups to ensure that good quality RE remains a priority. We agree that the current RE GCSE requires reform to raise academic standards and the EBacc offers us the opportunity to ensure that RE is a rigorous and academic subject which stimulates and enriches children’s education. We will continue to promote RE as a core academic subject, which should take its rightful place among other humanities such as History and Geography.”
The Department for Education’s consultation on “Reforming Key Stage 4 Qualifications” offers the CES and other education stakeholders the opportunity to respond to the Government’s proposals.