What is the Pupil Premium?
The Pupil Premium was introduced in April 2011 and is additional funding that the government gives to schools for each pupil on roll where they are deemed to be disadvantaged. The money must be spent on that pupil to support their education, but it is for the school to determine how it is spent.
The Department of Education website is a good source of additional information.
Why is the Government providing the Pupil Premium?
Poverty or low income is the single most important factor in predicting a child’s future life chances, with many pupils having low attainment by the time they leave school at age 16.
The Government believes that the Pupil Premium is the best way to address these 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.
Who receives the Pupil Premium?
Pupil Premium is allocated to pupils in school year groups from Reception to Year 11 from low income families who are registered for Free School Meals, or who have been registered for FSM at any point in the last six years (known as ‘Ever 6’), together with children that have been in care continuously for 6 months or more.
The government is made aware of each pupil claiming FSMs each term via the school census so they have up-to-date information on those eligible.
Pupil Premium is significant additional money for schools to spend on supporting disadvantaged pupils and schools are very keen to ensure that all eligible pupils are ‘signed up’. Grants are based on those pupils included in the January schools’ census.
How will schools spend the grant?
Schools must spend the grant for the educational benefit of their eligible pupils. The grant can be spent on services that benefit pupils at the school or their families, in the locality in which the school is situated. Pupil Premium grants can be carried forward to the next financial year if all the money is not spent in the year in which it is allocated.
What is the role of the local authority?
Local authorities are responsible for passing on the Pupil or Service Premium to maintained schools and for managing its distribution in respect of ‘Looked After’ children.
The Education Funding Agency, not the local authority, allocates the grant to Academy Schools but the eligibility criteria is exactly the same.
However, neither organisation is responsible for how schools spend the Pupil Premium, except for pupils in care, where the Local Authority has responsibility for their wellbeing.
What obligations are placed on the school?
Schools will need to monitor the impact of their selected approaches to improve provision for pupils entitled to the Pupil or Service Premium. The Pupil and Service Premium is not ring-fenced and schools are free to spend it as they wish to improve pupils’ attainment.
How are parents informed about the use of the Pupil Premium grants?
The school’s governing body must publish information on the school-website every year on the Pupil and Service Premium expenditure. For those parents that are not able to access the internet, a paper copy of this information will be provided. It should detail the funding received for the current academic year, as well as details of how it will be spent; there should also be details of how the previous academic year’s allocation was spent.
Contact the school office if you would like to find out more about registering your child for free school meals. This information will be held confidentially by the school.
The Headteacher, Pupil Premium Lead or the Chair of the governing body on behalf of the governors can offer further information to those parents enquiring about the use of the Pupil Premium.