PUPIL premium funding has failed to improve exam outcomes for disadvantaged children in Bournemouth and Poole, according to figures released by Ofsted.

The latest Pupil Premium report shows that the percentage of children eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) who passed five or more GCSEs at grades A* to C fell in both boroughs from 2012 to 2013.

In Poole there was a 4.5 per cent drop - down from 39.8 per cent to 35.3 per cent. In Bournemouth the fall was one per cent, with 30.1 per cent of disadvantaged pupils achieving that benchmark in 2013.

However in Dorset County Council's schools the reverse was true, with the pupil premium apparently reaping big rewards. Here number of children eligible for FSM achieving good GCSEs was up by almost nine per cent - from just over a quarter in 2012 to 34 per cent last year.

The mixed success of the funding, which amounts to more than £900 per eligible pupil given to the school to raise the attainment, reflects the postcode lottery highlighted by Ofsted chiefs.

The inspectorate's report says that “overall school leaders are spending pupil premium funding more effectively” but also concludes: “It cannot be right that the likelihood of a child receiving a good education should depend on their postcode or economic circumstance.”

HM Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, said closing the “unacceptable gap” between poorer children and their better off classmates was “one of the greatest challenges this country faces.” He added: “Ofsted, for its part, will continue to focus relentlessly on how schools are using this money to ensure these pupils don't get left behind.”