Introduced in 2011, the pupil premium is a sum of money given to schools each year by the Government to improve the attainment of disadvantaged children.
This is based on research showing that children from low income families perform less well at school than their peers. Often, children who are entitled to pupil premium face challenges such as poor language and communication skills, less family support, lack of confidence and issues with attendance and punctuality. The pupil premium is intended to directly benefit the children who are eligible, helping to diminish the difference between them and their classmates.
In the 2016 to 2017 financial year, schools will receive the following funding for each child registered as eligible for free school meals at any point in the last 6 years:
- £1,320 for pupils in reception year to year 6
- £935 for pupils in year 7 to year 11
Schools will also receive £1,900 for each pupil identified in the spring school census as having left local-authority care because of 1 of the following:
- a special guardianship order
- a child arrangements order
- a residence order
If a pupil has been registered as eligible for free school meals and has also left local-authority care for any of the reasons above, they will attract the £1,900 rate.
Children who have been in local-authority care for 1 day or more also attract £1,900 of pupil premium funding.
Your child may be eligible for free school meals – and accordingly pupil premium – if you receive any of the following benefits:
- Income support
- Income-based jobseekers’ allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Support under Part IV of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- The guaranteed element of state pension credit
- Child tax credit, provided that you are not also entitled to working tax credit and have an annual gross income of £16,190 or less
- Universal credit
Your child’s school will be able to tell you what you need to do to register your child as eligible.
From September 2014, all children in Reception and Years 1 and 2 will qualify for free school meals, regardless of their family income, but only the children who would have qualified for free meals under the above income-based criteria will receive the pupil premium.
If your child qualifies for free school meals, it’s important that you tell their school – even if they take a packed lunch – as this enables them to claim pupil premium.
To register your child as eligible for Pupil Premium you need to apply directly to the local authority online here.
Pupil premium is paid to schools as they are best placed to assess what additional provision their pupils need. Ofsted inspections report on how schools’ use of the funding affects the attainment of their disadvantaged pupils.
The government also hold schools to account through performance tables, which include data on:
- the attainment of the pupils who attract the funding
- the progress made by these pupils
- the gap in attainment between disadvantaged pupils and their peers
The government rewards schools whose use of the pupil premium has significantly improved the attainment of their disadvantaged pupils with Pupil Premium Awards.