Cash for pupils falling into 'black hole' in academy finances

The pupil premium is designed to bridge the gap between disadvantaged students and their peers.
The pupil premium is designed to bridge the gap between disadvantaged students and their peers.

Academies need to be more transparent about how they use cash set aside for disadvantaged pupils, a council meeting's been told.

Coun David Jones, chair of the children and young people scrutiny committee, said that the pupil premium, given to schools to spend on specific students, should not fall into a "big black hole".

Councillor Jones said it was important the money was spent on the pupils it was intended for.

Councillor Jones said it was important the money was spent on the pupils it was intended for.

The premium is a government grant designed to bridge the gap between pupils from different backgrounds and can be spent on things like a school trip, or one-on-one tutoring.

The cash can't be put to general use, or spent on paying staff already on the books.

Publicly funded schools also need to publish details of how they've spent the premium on their websites.

But speaking at a scrutiny committee meeting on Wednesday, Coun Jones said: "Often the money can fall into a big black hole in the finances of academy trusts.

“There should be no reason why that money shouldn't follow the child that it's intended for.

"We need to make sure that children are getting the money that’s allocated to them for their needs."

"I think it's an issue we need to revisit."