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, 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.
Primary schools are given a pupil premium for children previously in care who have a special guardianship order. For these children, the pupil premium is currently £2,300 per pupil per school year.
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
- 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
There is no obligation for your school to consult you about how they use the money they claim for your child, although some schools may involve parents.
However, schools do have to show that they are using their pupil premium fund appropriately. This is measured through Ofsted inspections and annual performance tables showing the progress made by children who are eligible for pupil premium.
In addition, they have to publish details online, including how much money they have been allocated, how they intend to spend it, how they spent their previous year's allocation and how it made a difference to the attainment of disadvantaged pupils.