Final Report of the Evaluation of the Pupil Learning Credits Pilot Scheme

Sandra McNally, Anne West, Audrey Hind, Philip Noden, Annette Braun

23 November 2005

The Pupil Learning Credits (PLC) pilot scheme was announced in February 2001 (Department for Education and Employment (DfEE), 2001a) and ran for two academic years from September 2001. The scheme made extra funding available to secondary schools with high levels of known Free School Meals eligibility (FSM). Its objective was to provide additional educational opportunities to pupils from financially deprived backgrounds in order to enrich and add depth to their learning. Another objective was to promote inclusion by breaking down barriers preventing disadvantaged pupils from taking part in activities their peers take for granted. The pilot scheme also aimed to provide them with the means (such as increased self-confidence and self-esteem and improved attitudes to learning) to improve their levels of attainment.

Altogether 260 schools in disadvantaged areas of England were targeted for funding and schools were given maximum flexibility in how to allocate the additional resources, both within and outside the school day. This was based on the premise that, in many ways, schools are the most appropriate body to decide on the use of the funding since they have most knowledge and understanding of their pupils and of the particular local context that may inhibit (or encourage) young people's learning. The pilot scheme was particularly targeted at pupils aged 11 to 14 years (Key Stage 3).