Ofsted has criticised some schools for grouping disadvantaged children together on so-called “pupil premium tables” in classrooms.
The practice was revealed by Sean Harford, the inspectorate’s national director for schools policy, during an education select committee hearing this morning.
Mr Harford was answering MPs’ questions about the government’s pupil premium scheme for disadvantaged children during an evidence session on the Ofsted annual report 2013-14.
He said: “What we don’t want...is some practice I have heard where in some primary schools they are putting their pupil premium children on a table so they have a pupil premium group; that is not going to drive those children to achieve better, frankly.”
He said similar practices were also taking place in secondary schools.
“Having a plan for that group of children across the whole school is the important thing and how you can mitigate some of the circumstances they might find themselves in because of their disadvantage,” he said.
“Expecting teachers to put them on a table so they can identify them just in case we turn up, for example, is wrong,” he added.
An Ofsted spokesman told TES that Mr Harford had heard about the practice “anecdotally” and mentioned it as an example of bad practice. “There is no evidence it is prevalent in schools at the moment,” the spokesman said.
The pupil premium is extra funding given to schools in England to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils.
Primary schools currently receive £1,300 extra for each child registered as eligible for free school meals at any point in the last six years and secondary schools receive £935 per pupil.
Divert pupil premium cash to low achievers, says report – December 2014
Primary schools handed £22.5m extra pupil premium cash – November 2014