Union calls for all teachers to decide how PEF cash is spent

5 February 2018, 06:35

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Fewer than one in 10 schools have set up committees to look at how extra cash from Pupil Equity Funding is spent, a new survey has revealed.

The EIS teachers union asked schools across the country if they had a committee to monitor how the cash - which goes directly to headteachers - was used.

Of the 262 schools who answered, 239 (91.2%) said the school did not have a committee to monitor the funds - with the union describing that as "disappointing".

Just 23 schools - 8.8% of those surveyed - have such a body in place, according to the research.

Pupil Equity Funding was set up by ministers as part of efforts to close the attainment gap - with the Scottish Government confirming in recent days that 2,387 schools will share more than £120 million from the scheme in 2018-19.

And EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said all teachers should have a role in deciding how the extra resources should be spent.

He stated: "The EIS fully supports the aim of reducing the impact of poverty on children's education, and welcomes the additional resources that have come to schools through the Pupil Equity Funding scheme - although we retain concerns over the level of paperwork associated with the model.

"Last week, the Deputy First Minister announced £120 million in PEF allocations to schools across the country for the year ahead. This additional resource is welcome, but we must ensure that this money is spent effectively to support the young people in our classrooms.

"The EIS believes that all teachers in schools, working collaboratively on a collegiate basis, should agree how PEF funding should be utilised in their school."

Mr Flanagan added: "It is disappointing to discover, through our national survey, that fewer than 9% of schools have a finance committee in operation to agree how PEF funding should be used.

"The EIS supports the important role of the headteacher as the leader of learning within the school, but we believe that collegiate decision-making that involves all teachers is an essential component of effective schools.

"Headteachers are clearly hugely important to school leadership, but the collegiate model within schools remains the best method of ensuring all staff are involved with, and engaged in, important decisions on learning."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "Pupil Equity Funding is provided directly to schools for headteachers to spend at their discretion to close the poverty-related attainment gap. What's more, there is clear feedback that it has been widely welcomed and is working in schools the length and breadth of Scotland.

"We encourage schools to work with a wide range of stakeholders to decide on the use of the funding but we are committed to ensuring the use of this funding remains at the discretion of the headteacher and does not become weighed down by committee structures or unnecessary bureaucracy."