The government believes that the pupil premium, which is additional to main school funding, is the best way to address the current underlying inequalities between children eligible for free school meals (FSM) and their peers by ensuring that funding to tackle disadvantage reaches the pupils who need it most. The pupil premium was introduced in April 2011 and is allocated to schools to work with pupils who have been registered for free school meals at any point in the last six years (known as ‘Ever 6 FSM’). Schools also receive funding for children who have been looked after continuously for more than six months, and children of service personnel. The Spending Review in November 2015 included a commitment from the Government to continue funding the Pupil Premium at existing cash terms levels.
The government believes that head teachers and school leaders should decide how to use the pupil premium. They are held accountable for the decisions they make through:
- the performance tables which show the performance of disadvantaged pupils compared with their peers
- the Ofsted inspection framework, under which inspectors focus on the attainment of pupil groups, and in particular those who attract the pupil premium
- the reports for parents that schools have to publish online how schools present the information in their online statement is a matter for each school
There is certain information that must be in the report: the school’s pupil premium allocation in respect of the current academic year; details of how it is intended that the allocation will be spent; details of how the previous academic year’s allocation was spent, and the impact of this expenditure on the educational attainment of those pupils at the school, in respect of whom grant funding was allocated. You can link to examples of reports schools have produced from this page to get different ideas for how the information can be presented.
In most cases the pupil premium is paid direct to schools, allocated to them for every pupil who receives free school meals. Schools decide how to use the funding, as they are best placed to assess what additional provision their pupils need. For pupils from low-income families in non-mainstream settings the local authority decides how to allocate the pupil premium. The authority must consult non-mainstream settings about how the premium for these pupils should be used. Local authorities are responsible for looked after children and make payments to schools and academies where an eligible looked after child is on roll.