What is pupil premium?
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 narrow the gap between them and their classmates.
Schools are given a pupil premium for:
- Children who have qualified for free school meals at any point in the past six years. The school receives £1300 for each of these children.
- Children who have been looked after under local authority care for more than one day. These children are awarded a premium of £1900.
Schools can choose how to spend their pupil premium money, as they are best placed to identify what would be of most benefit to the children who are eligible.
Common ways in which schools spend their pupil premium fund include:
- Extra one-to-one or small-group support for children within the classroom.
- Employing extra teaching assistants to work with classes.
- Running catch-up sessions before or after school, for example for children who need extra help with maths or literacy.
- Running a school breakfast club to improve attendance.
- Providing extra tuition for able children who receive the pupil premium, for example in preparation for Level 6 SATs.
- Providing music lessons for children whose families would be unable to pay for them.
- Funding educational trips and visits.
- Paying for additional help such as speech and language therapy or family therapy.
- Funding English classes for children who speak another language at home.
- Investing in resources that boost children’s learning, such as laptops or tablets.
However, some schools use their pupil premium in more creative ways. In the annual Pupil Premium Awards, recent winners spent their money on a bike for a child who was repeatedly late for school due to missing the bus, a nutritionist for a Year 5 child whose poor diet was causing behavioural and learning difficulties, and shoes and school uniform – including a PE kit – for a disadvantaged child in Year 3.
Often, all of the children in a class will reap some benefit from how the school spends its pupil premium: for example, if the money is used to fund an additional teaching assistant who works across the whole class, rather than providing one-to-one support. But research shows that the fund does help to narrow gaps between disadvantaged children and their peers, particularly in English and maths.
The pupil premium strategy is reviewed annually. The next review date is Autumn 2019.