Addressing underlying inequalities: The pupil premium explained

shutterstock_136916006_adj.jpg

The UK Department of Education believes that one of the best ways to address underlying inequalities is through the pupil premium. The pupil premium, which is additional to main school funding, is designed to tackle disadvantage through targeted funding for pupils that need it most.

The pupil premium was introduced in April 2011. It was allocated to schools to work with pupils who had been registered for free school meals (FSM) at any point in the last six years (known as ‘Ever 6 FSM’). The pupil premium fund was also allocated to children aged four through to 15 years who had been looked after continuously for six months or more, and for children of parents serving in the armed forces. The allocation was £488 per child.

One year later, the pupil premium increased to £600 per child and was provided to all children who were eligible for FSM at any time over the last six years. Children of parents serving in the armed forces were still eligible for the premium if they were experiencing particular challenges. The premium for these children was £250. This change came into effect from April 2012. The ministerial statement of the time clarified why the pupil premium was important, stating that: “As a group, children who have been eligible for FSM at any point in time have consistently lower educational attainment than those who have never been eligible for FSM.”

On December 12, 2013, the Rt Hon David Laws MP, announced that in the 2014 to 2015 financial year, the pupil premium would rise from £1.875 billion to £2.5 billion. He explained: “for the first time, the pupil premium will include children who have been adopted from care or leave care under a special guardianship or residence order. This change recognizes that the needs of those children who leave care do not change.”

The 2014-2015 pupil premium allocation results in £1,300 for primary-aged pupils, £935 for secondary-aged pupils and £1,900 for all looked-after children, adopted children and children with guardians.

How will I know if the money has been well spent?

The government says that head teachers and school leaders should decide how to use the pupil premium and that they can be held accountable for their decisions through three mechanisms. Through:

  1. performance tables, which show the performance of disadvantaged pupils compared with their peers
  2. the Ofsted inspection framework, under which inspectors focus on the attainment of pupil groups, and in particular those who attract the pupil premium
  3. online published reports for parents

Online reports for parents

Even though each school can choose how to present their online report for parents, the government expects a certain level of information to be reported. This means that parents can expect the inclusion of at least the following:

  • the school’s pupil premium allocation in relation to the current academic year
  • how the school intends to spend the allocation along with how the previous allocation was spent, and
  • the impact of this expenditure on the educational attainment of the pupils at the school the premium pupil funding was allocated.

Share & connect with Pink Families

PinIt