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Using research to get the best value from the Pupil Premium. Steve Higgins, School of Education, Durham University @ stig_01. National Middle Schools’ Forum Conference 2013 21 st October 2013 Stratford Manor Hotel, Stratford on Avon.

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using research to get the best value from the pupil premium

Using research to get the best value from the Pupil Premium

Steve Higgins,

School of Education, Durham University


National Middle Schools’ Forum

Conference 2013

21st October 2013

Stratford Manor Hotel, Stratford on Avon

sutton trust eef teaching and learning toolkit
Sutton Trust/EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit
  • Why we wrote it
  • Best ‘buys’ on average
  • Key messages for spending the Pupil Premium
  • Currently used by about a third of schools

the pupil premium
The pupil premium
  • Aims:
    • to close the attainment ‘gap’ between the highest and lowest achieving
    • to increase social mobility
    • to enable more pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds to get to the top Universities
    • to provide additional resource to schools to do this
  • Was £600 in 2012-13 for fsm1 pupils; increased to £900 in 2013-14 and £1300 in 2014-15.

1 any child registered for fsm in the last six years and all looked after children, smaller premium for children of Service families

resources and learning
Resources and learning
  • Above a minimum threshold – no simple link
  • Conclusion: spending more won’t guarantee improvement - no simple solution
  • More money ≠ more learning
smaller classes
Smaller classes?
  • Complex evidence- no clear link with class size and achievement
  • Experimental trials suggest

Classes need to be less than about 17 for 0.2 effect size…

And teachers need to change the way they teach…

But support from teaching assistants not as effective

  • The maths:

£900 x 25 pupils x 3 classes with 50% on fsm= £33,750

= 1 extra teacher per 3 classes

Class size reduction from 25 to 19 – expensive for little gain

one to one tuition
One-to-one tuition
  • Highly effective

I hour/ day over at least 6 weeks

Support for class teacher to re-integrate

Effect size 0.44

  • The maths…

6 weeks x 5 days x 1 hour = 30 hours

4 days teacher time (more effective with an experienced teacher)

Approx £700 (ECC models less costly)

  • Expensive but very effective

Consider using pairs or triplets?

what should the pupil premium buy
What should the Pupil Premium ‘buy’?
  • Secondary £5,200 per pupil
  • Primary £4,284
  • Wide variation
    • Secondaries £4,000 to £9,000
    • Primaries £3,000 and £8,000
    • Middle Schools £3,300 - £8,000 (median £4,100)
    • Excludes Academies and Free Schools
  • Will £1,300 buy an extra three or four months learning for each pupil eligible for the Pupil Premium?

(In England, data from 2009-10: )

the bananarama principle
The Bananarama Principle
  • It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it…
  • So how do you spend to “get results”?
  • Or, what does the evidence say is a good investment or a poor investment for learning?
  • It ain’t what you spend it’s the way that you spend it…
what we tried to do
What we tried to do
  • Summarise the evidence from meta-analysis about the impact of different strategies on learning (tested attainment)
    • As found in research studies
    • These are averages
  • Apply quality criteria to evaluations: rigorous designs only
  • Estimate the sizeof the effect
    • Standardised Mean Difference = ‘Months of gain’
  • Estimate the costsof adopting
    • Information not always available
best buys
Best ‘buys’...

New entry


good buys
Good ‘buys’...

New entry


worst buys on average
Worst ‘buys’...(on average)

Revised entry

New entry




    • What is it?How effective is it?How secure is the
    • evidence?What are the costs?
    • What do I need to know?
the methodology
The methodology
  • Systematic searches for meta-analyses of interventions and quantitative estimates of impact
    • Effect sizes aggregated (fixed effect model)
    • Converted to months progress
    • Moderator variables summarised
  • Costs estimated in terms of outlay for schools
  • Variation within toolkit themes greater than variation between them: it ain’t what you do…
    • Technical appendix available on EEF website
overview of value for money
Overview of value for money




Could be worth it


EY intervention

Effect Size (potential months gain)

Peer tutoring

Homework (Secondary)

1-1 tutoring

Summer schools

Digital technology


Smaller classes

Parental involvement

After school

Needs careful thought

Individualised learning

Teaching assistants

Performance pay


Ability grouping



Cost per pupil

key messages
Key messages
  • Some things that are popular or widely thought to be effective are hard to make work well in terms of tested attainment

Ability grouping (setting); After-school clubs; Deployment of teaching assistants; Performance pay

  • Some things look more ‘promising’

Effective feedback; Meta-cognition and self regulation strategies; Early years intervention; Peer tutoring; Small group/intensive tuition; Parental involvement and engagement

issues and limitations
Issues and limitations
  • Based on meta-analysis – averages of averages
  • Conversion to ‘months progress’ is a rough estimate
  • Intervention research is compared with ‘normal’ practice which is varied
  • Not ‘what works’ but what has worked – ‘good bets’ to support professional enquiry
the challenges 1 implementation
The challenges (1): implementation
  • These strategies have been shown to be cost-effective in research studies
  • But when we have tried to implement evidence-based strategies we have not seen system-wide improvement (e.g. AfL, SureStart)
  • We don’t know how to get schools/teachers who are not currently doing them to do so in ways that are
    • True to the key principles
    • Feasible in real classrooms – with all their constraints
    • Scalable and replicable
    • Sustainable
the challenges 2 context
The challenges (2) : context
  • This is what has worked (on average)
  • Where is there leverage for improvement in a school or class?
  • Will it build capacity? (i.e. is it efficient?)
    • For learners?
    • For teachers?
  • Is it inclusive?
for disadvantaged struggling learners
For disadvantaged /struggling learners…
  • One ‘intervention’ won’t be enough

Identify areas of greatest need

Clear focus on improving learning, not (just) behaviour

Mid and high attaining learners can be disadvantaged too!

  • Effects will need to be cumulative

What will build learning capacity and capability?

Need to track and evaluate – our best guesses are not always good enough

evaluate impact
Evaluate impact

EEF’s DIY Evaluation Guide:

establishing a baseline
Establishing a baseline
  • Teacher assessment vsstandardised tests?
  • Individual progress vs comparison group?
  • Test score increases or age-standarised progress?
  • Evidence suggests Teacher Assessment tends to over-estimate progress BUT reliance on standardised tests narrows the curriculum and encourages test preparation




Small group tuition


TA support

(Parent involvement)

(Early years intervention)



Self regulation

Peer tutoring

but remember
But remember….

“It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it… that’s what gets results”

Effective identification

Adopting solutions, not bandwagons

High quality intervention/support

Evaluate to ensure learning progress

Quality counts

some links
Some Links

The full report can be found on the EEF’s website:

The toolkit is recommended by the Department for Education:

Official information about the Pupil Premium and LA allocations is available at:

Ofsted’s report is available at:

Find out how much each school gets: DIY Evaluation Guide:

using research to get the best value from the pupil premium workshop session

Using research to get the best value from the Pupil Premium: workshop session

Steve Higgins,

School of Education, Durham University


National Middle Schools’ Forum

Conference 2013

21st October 2013

Stratford Manor Hotel, Stratford on Avon

best value
‘Best value’
  • Identify target group
  • Improve effectiveness of provision/support
  • Evaluate impact
  • Track target pupils
  • Adjust plan in response to tracking
  • Use funding to achieve wider outcomes?

High Impact

Low cost

High cost

Low Impact

preparing for ofsted
Preparing for Ofsted
  • Communicate your strategy
    • Teachers
    • Governors
    • Website
  • Track target pupils
  • Record data on spending
  • Evaluate accurately
  • Improve plan
  • Justify/argue!
tracker links
Tracker links


Leading Learner blog:



Deepings School (CfBT Academy):