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Problems with putting price on pupils' heads

Am I the only one flummoxed by the perceived wisdom and righteousness of the pupil premium? TES editor Gerard Kelly sung its praises last week ("Budget cut pain should not blind us to excellence of the pupil premium", October 29).

For the local authority in which I am a primary headteacher there already exists a mechanism for funding schools in poorer areas and it creates a massive difference in funding. The difference between per pupil funding for the best- and worst-funded schools in our local authority is around #163;2,000 a year, and there is an expectation that your average school in a more challenging area will be receiving at least #163;1,000 more per pupil per annum.

Multiply these amounts by your number of pupils and you can see the disparity. It is well known in our local authority that schools in more challenging areas can afford small classes, extensive support and up-to-date ICT equipment and buildings, while many of those on the fringes are struggling with deficit budgets and dilapidated buildings. This is why I cannot support the pupil premium - schools in more challenging areas are already well funded though formula and I cannot see why more should be added to the mechanism.

Primary school headteacher, South of England. Name and address supplied.

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