What is the Pupil Premium?
The Pupil Premium was introduced in April 2011. It represents additional funding that the government gives to schools for each pupil considered to be ‘disadvantaged’. The money must be spent on these pupils 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 does the Government provide a Pupil Premium?
Poverty or low income is the single most important factor in predicting a child’s future life chances, with many pupils in low income families having low attainment by 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 FSM, or who have been registered for FSM at any point in the last six years, together with children that have been in care continuously for 6 months or more. Adopted children who have been in care continuously for 6 months or more prior to adoption are also eligible.
What is the Service Premium?
The Service Premium grant is for pupils who have a parent serving in the armed services. Unlike the Pupil Premium, this grant is not solely for raising attainment but for providing additional (mainly pastoral) support.
Who receives the Service Premium?
Pupils with a parent currently serving in the armed services and supporting their family, pupils who have a parent who died in action and those whose parents have left the service since April 2011 for other reasons, including injury. To be eligible, the parent must be supporting their family, so where they are separated or divorced a pupil will not be eligible.
Applying for Pupil Premium
Parents must still apply for free school meals via the County Council. This is a quick and simple process: Telephone Dorset Direct on 01305 221090, or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your National Insurance Number, date of birth, name and child’s details and an eligibility check can be carried out using the Department for Education’s Eligibility Checking System, this will confirm if details have been matched or not.
It will not tell the County Council what benefits you are in receipt of, dates when a benefit was awarded or say how much you receive, it will just confirm whether or not you are eligible. Confirmation will be sent to you and the school within 5-10 working days. Pupils do not have to take up their entitlement to a free meal but the school recommends that they do. 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.
Parents working in the services need to ensure that the school is made aware of this. Further information.
How much are the Pupil Premium Grants worth?
The Pupil Premium for the financial year 2014-15 was £900, and for the 2015-16 financial year is £900. The Service Premium is now £300 per pupil. This 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 should 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 obligations are placed on the school?
Schools 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 publishes information on the school website every year on Pupil and Service Premium expenditure. For those parents that are not able to access the internet, a paper copy of this information can be provided on request. It details 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.
How are schools held accountable?
The Ofsted Inspection Framework ensures that inspectors look closely at the achievement of vulnerable pupils and in particular those who attract the Pupil and Service Premium. They have published a series of reports about how the pupil premium can be spent. These can be found on their website.
The Department for Education’s performance tables detail the achievement of those pupils entitled to FSM and the Pupil Premium Grant(s). Individual pupils will never be identified through published information, this will only relate to groups of pupils, and in small schools numbers may not be published. Individual school information can be found on the Department for Education’s website.