House of Commons Library

The Pupil Premium

Published Tuesday, April 17, 2018

This House of Commons Library Briefing Paper provides an overview of policy on the Pupil Premium since its introduction in 2011, including funding levels, eligibility criteria, and accountability.

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Introduced in 2011 by the Coalition Government, the Pupil Premium is additional funding provided to publicly-funded schools in England schools with the aim of raising the attainment of disadvantaged children. In 2017-18, £2.4 billion of Pupil Premium funding was allocated in respect of around 2 million pupils, with the following pupils attracting funding:

  • Children registered as eligible for free school meals (FSMs) at any point since May 2011 (referred to as Ever 6 FSM). £1,320 was allocated for each such pupil in reception to year 6; £935 was allocated for each such pupil in years 7 to 11.
  • £1,900 for each child looked after by a local authority, or who left the care of a local authority in England or Wales because of adoption, a special guardianship order, or a child arrangements order (sometimes referred to as Pupil Premium Plus).

The £2.4 billion also includes a Service Premium of £300, which is paid in respect of pupils who have had a parent in the regular armed forces at any point since January 2012 (referred to as Ever 6 service children), or who are in receipt of a pension under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme or the War Pensions Scheme after their parent died while serving the armed forces.

Local authority maintained schools are required to publish a strategy for using Pupil Premium funding on their websites. There is no parallel obligation on academies unless provided for in their funding agreement, which largely depends on when the academy opened. The Department for Education recommends, however, that academies should publish a Pupil Premium strategy regardless of whether this is required by their funding agreement.

Schools are also accountable for their use of Pupil Premium funding via the performance tables, which report on the performance of disadvantaged pupils compared to other pupils, and through Ofsted inspections, which report on the attainment and progress of pupils who attract the Pupil Premium.

The Spending Review and Autumn Statement 2015 committed to protect the Pupil Premium “at current rates” during the Spending Review Period (up to 2020).

The Pupil Premium Grant is paid as a separate grant to the Dedicated Schools Grant (the main source of revenue funding for schools). As such, it is for the most part unaffected by the introduction of a National Funding Formula for schools. However, the National Funding Formula will not include a looked-after-children factor; instead, all school funding for looked-after and previously looked-after children will be targeted through the Pupil Premium Plus. As a result of the change, the Pupil Premium Plus rate will increase to £2,300 per eligible pupil from 2018-19.

To be eligible for FSMs a child or their parent/carer must be in receipt of a qualifying benefit. Universal Credit, which is being gradually rolled out across Great Britain, replaces many of these benefits with a single payment. In November 2017, the Government published a consultation in which it proposed introducing a net earnings threshold for a household’s eligibility for FSMs under Universal Credit from April 2018 (with transitional protections for current recipients). Regulations implementing the proposals came into force on 1 April 2018.

Commons Briefing papers SN06700

Authors: Robert Long; David Foster

Topics: Armed forces, Armed forces welfare, Incomes and poverty, Local authorities: education, Schools

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