Tory think tank urges pay boost in poor areas

31st October 2008 at 00:00
It Also demands pound;3,000 extra for each of the most disadvantaged pupils in schools

The pay of teachers prepared to work in tougher areas could rocket under plans from the Tories' favourite think tank, but schools in wealthier areas would suffer.

The Policy Exchange report, published this week, sets out in detail how a future Tory Government could implement its "pupil premium", aimed at encouraging schools to take more deprived pupils by attaching extra funding to each one they admit.

The think tank, founded and chaired for three years by Michael Gove, Conservative shadow schools secretary, has spoken to heads and expects schools to use their extra pupil premium money to attract "better" qualified teachers with higher salaries.

It has recommended that schools should be able to opt out of the national teacher pay structure.

The Conservatives have already gone a long way to accepting this point with plans to allow the "best" comprehensives to operate outside national deals alongside thousands of new academies.

Policy Exchange has concluded that the pupil premium would require the redistribution of Pounds 4.6 billion of existing school funding. That could mean more than a third of schools being forced to cut teachers' jobs and pay. The money would be reallocated to schools according to an analysis of the economic, social, cultural and racial make-up of postcode areas where pupils live.

Three categories of pupils would trigger more funding with pound;3,000 extra attached to each of those in the most deprived category, pound;2,000 in the next one and pound;500 for the least deprived.

In total 46 per cent of pupils would benefit, an almost exact match with the 46.7 per cent of pupils that did not get five good A*-C GCSEs including English and maths this year.

But the report accepts there will be some "serious losers" under its model.

"Introducing a premium inevitably means that the budget of some schools in wealthier areas will decrease," it states. It says that more than a third would fall into this category.

Lindsay Wharmby, the Association of School and College Leaders funding expert said schools with significant funding cuts would be forced to cut staff.

"They would have to pay their staff less and have fewer of them," she said.

But Mr Gove said: "In terms of funding the pupil premium it is our intention to ensure that we do not reduce classroom funding for any existing school."

Funding plans, page 4.

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