14 January 2014:
Lack of computer access at home has been identified as a barrier to learning and achievement, and pupils on Free School Meals are most likely to be affected. Figures from campaign group, Mind the Gap, say 500,000 children have no home internet and this is affecting their education and performance.
The groups again pointed out the correlation between poverty and poorer academic results: only 37% of children in England eligible for FSM got an A*-C grade in Maths and English GCSE, compared with 63% of all other children.
Mind the Gap will encourage schools to use part of the pupil premium to buy equipment and pay for broadband connections. A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “It is vital that we do all we can the close the unacceptable gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers. That is why we introduced the pupil premium – worth £2.5bn a year from this April. Schools are free to use the pupil premium in ways which they think will most help disadvantaged children.”
Another way in which pupil premium can be put to good use is providing targeted training and mentoring for young males in particular. Bridge Builders Mentoring provides a range of workshops, high quality mentors from business and opportunities for work experience. These help develop the skills of young men from disadvantaged backgrounds so they can raise their aspirations.