The pupil premium grant is funding provided to schools to 'Diminish the Difference' attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers.
A school will receive an amount of money for each pupil of compulsory school age who fits the eligibility criteria. There are five categories of eligible pupil. Each category attracts a different amount of funding.
The grant is allocated in line with the financial year, which begins in April. Each year’s allocations are based on data from the previous January’s census. If an eligible pupil joins after the January census, the school will not receive pupil premium funding for him/her until the following year.
Maintained schools receive the pupil premium through their local authority (LA), whereas the Education Funding
Agency allocates the funding directly to academies and free schools. Both academies and maintained schools receive the grant in quarterly instalments.
However, pupil premium funding for looked-after children (LAC) is not allocated to schools but to the virtual school head in the LA, who will work with the school to decide how it will be spent.
The grant can be spent as each school sees fit, as long as it is used to demonstrably improve the attainment of eligible pupils. Schools do not need to spend an equal amount on each pupil, or use the money for interventions that benefit only eligible pupils.
However, the grant should not be used to fund free school meals, as schools already receive funding for this through the dedicated schools grant.
Schools must publish information on their websites about the amount of pupil premium funding they have received, how it will be used, how the previous year’s allocation was spent, and the effect of this expenditure on the attainment of eligible pupils.
This was first introduced for children whose parents are currently serving in the armed forces in 2011. This service premium is designed to address the emotional and social well-being of these pupils.
Pupils are eligible for the service premium if:
Section 3.3 of the 2015-16 conditions of grant explains that the grant will be paid for any pupil recorded in the January school census who was eligible for the service child premium in any of the previous four years, as well as for those recorded as a service child for the first time.
The grant is paid for pupils aged four and over in year groups reception to year 11.
The DfE published a set of case studies on schools’ use of the service premium. The document explains that the aim of the premium is to “enable schools to make more effective provision for the emotional and social wellbeing of service children”.
The case studies are from schools that have spent the funding on interventions such as: