Funder: Welsh Government
Start Date: 25th April 2013
End Date: 1st June 2015
Principal Investigator: Kelly Beaver (Ipsos-Mori)
Co-Investigators: Professor Chris Taylor
The Pupil Deprivation Grant was introduced in 2012-13 and provides schools with additional resource to raise levels of achievement of a particular group of economically disadvantaged learners. This two-year evaluation will look at how schools have used this new grant and what impact this additional resource has had on these children and young people. In particular we are interested to see what impact schools have managed to achieve on increasing school attendance and raising educational achievement amongst those targeted by the initiative. The evaluation will have wide-ranging benefits. At one level it will help the Welsh Government decide whether to continue with the initiative or how it should be continued. But it also aims to identify which particular activities and interventions that schools have introduced as a direct result of the grant appear to have had the greatest impact. The evaluation will produce an interim evaluation report during 2014 and a final evaluation report in 2015.
The link between socio-economic deprivation and educational attainment is well established, both in Wales and elsewhere (Egan, 2013). Alleviating the impact of deprivation on educational outcomes, and in closing the associated achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged learners, has been a priority in Wales since devolution (The Learning Country, 2001). In 2012 a new national plan was introduced in Wales to raise standards in 3 to 16 education; Improving Schools (2012a) identified three priorities for improving educational outcomes for learners in Wales: to improve literacy; to improve numeracy; and to reduce the impact of deprivation on educational outcomes. The overall success of this plan will be measured against the proportion of 15-year-olds who leave school with Level 2 including English/Welsh and mathematics.
The policy response to these priorities has been extensive, and includes numerous policies and initiatives. Central to many of these initiatives has been the provision of funding for targeted activities designed to raise educational standards, such as the School Effectiveness Grant and additional funding for secondary schools in the two lowest Bands of performance. The introduction of the Pupil Deprivation Grant (PDG) in 2012-13 is designed to further support these aims, and to direct schools and local authorities to place greater emphasis on mitigating the effects of poverty and socio-economic disadvantage on educational attainment. The PDG has similar aims to the Pupil Premium in England.
WISERD, in partnership with Ipsos-MORI, has been awarded the contract to undertake an evaluation of the PDG. The evaluation has six main aims: