Is the pupil premium gap closing?
Our December blog and Big Numbers discussed the regional differences in the 2012 achievement of 5+ A*-C GCSEs including English and mathematics for students eligible for pupil premium, i.e. pupils eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) and Children Looked After (CLA). Comparing the achievement of these pupils to all pupils in 2012, we saw large differences in the pupil premium gap across regions with the smallest gap in London (15%) and the largest in the South East (32%).
The recently released 2013 amended GCSE results data  suggest that the pupil premium gap has widened both nationally and across some regions between 2012 and 2013 .
Our new interactive infographic gives you the comparison of this gap not only across regions, but also over time.
Nationally we see an increase in the percentage of pupils eligible for pupil premium achieving 5+ A*-C GCSEs including English and mathematics between 2011 and 2013. At the same time the gap in the achievement of this threshold measure has widened between 2012 and 2013, reflecting a greater increase in the achievement of other pupils. The percentage of CLA pupils achieving 5+ A*-C GCSEs including English and mathematics increased by just 0.3% between 2012 and 2013 while among all other pupils this rose by 1.8%, widening the performance gap to 45.9%. Among FSM eligible pupils there was an increase of 1.8% achieving this threshold measure in 2013 than in 2012; similarly there was an increase of 2% for all other pupils, increasing the gap to 26.7%.
Looking at regions, London has served as an example of closing the gap over the last years. The achievement in this threshold measure for both CLA and FSM pupils increased over the past three years from 16.5% to 20.8% and from 47.3% to 50.8% respectively. The gap between CLA and all other pupils has decreased slightly by 1.1% over the three years, and the FSM gap decreased between 2011 and 2012 but then increased by 1.1% in 2013; nevertheless London remains the region with the highest achievement of pupils eligible for pupil premium and is among the regions with the smallest pupil premium gap.
The South East is the region with the lowest levels of achievement of pupils eligible for pupil premium. The percentage of CLA pupils achieving the threshold measure has not changed across the three years, staying around an average of 11.6%; additionally the CLA gap increased in this time by 2.6%. There has been some progress for the FSM pupils as 33% achieved the GCSE threshold measures in 2013 compared to 28.7% in 2011, reducing the gap by 1.2%. Although the South East remains the region with the lowest achievement of pupils eligible for pupil premium, it is one of the few regions that reduced the FSM gap between 2012 and 2013.
How does the achievement of your pupils eligible for pupil premium compare to the national and regional trends? How do you utilise your pupil premium funding? How do you share the best practice on maximizing the impact of the funding?
 The FSM data come from the DfE’s SFR “GCSE and equivalent attainment by pupil characteristics: 2012 to 2013” released in January 2014. The CLA data come from the DfE’s SFR “Outcomes for children looked after by LAs in England” released in December 2013.
 Please note that the groupings here are different from our December blog and infographic and a direct comparison is not possible.