What is Pupil Premium?
The Pupil Premium was introduced in April 2011 and is additional funding that the government gives to schools for each pupil on roll where they are deemed to be disadvantaged. The money must be spent on that pupil 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 is the Government providing Pupil Premium?
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 is eligible for 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 free school meals (FSM) or who have been registered for FSM at any point in the last six years (known as Ever 6), together with children that have been in care continuously for 6 months or more.
Families may be eligible for free school meals and accordingly the pupil premium if they receive any of the following benefits:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Child Tax Credit (provided they are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
- Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
- Universal Credit
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. 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.
How do parents register their child’s entitlement for Pupil Premium?
Parents must apply for free school meals via the County Council or their child’s school, this is a quick and simple process. Telephone 0845 155 1019 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 us what benefits you are in receipt of, dates when a benefit was awarded or say how much you receive. Confirmation will be sent to you and the school within 5-10 working days. Further information is available on Northumberland’s website.
Pupils do not have to take up their entitlement to a free meal but Local Authorities and schools recommend 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.
How are Pupil Premium Grants spent?
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 will 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 pupil attainment.
How are parents informed about the use of the Pupil Premium grants?
The school’s governing body must publish information on the school-website every year on the Pupil and Service Premium expenditure. For those parents that are not able to access the internet, a paper copy of this information will be provided. It should detail 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 years allocation was spent. Parents should be aware that school staff are bound by confidentiality rules on all matters pertinent to pupil’s educational needs, their care and health needs and their wellbeing.
How are schools held accountable?
The Ofsted Inspection Framework ensures that their inspectors focus on the attainment of vulnerable pupils and in particular those who attract the Pupil and Service Premium. Ofsted has published a series of reports about how the pupil premium can be spent which 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.