What is pupil premium?
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 can 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.
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 a school breakfast club to improve attendance.
- Running educational trips and visits.
- Paying for additional help such as speech and language therapy or family therapy.
- Investing in resources that boost children’s learning, such as laptops or tablets.
Often, all of the children in a class will reap some benefit from how the school spends its pupil premium: for example at Dale Hall this year we are giving all of the children enrichment days to enable further staff training, which in turn will improve teaching and learning for every child.
Prior to April 2018, children qualified for free school meals – and accordingly pupil premium – if you received any of the following benefits:
- Income support
- Income-based jobseekers’ allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Support under Part IV of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- The guaranteed element of state pension credit
- Child tax credit, provided that you are not also entitled to working tax credit and have an annual gross income of £16,190 or less
These benefits have now been rolled into a single benefit, called Universal Credit. From April 2018, free school meals and pupil premium will only be allocated to pupils with a family income under £7400 (net) per year.
Your child’s school will be able to tell you what you need to do to register your child as eligible.
Since September 2014, all children in Reception and Years 1 and 2 have qualified for free school meals, regardless of their family income, but only the children who would qualify for free meals under the above income-based criteria will receive the pupil premium.
If your child qualifies for free school meals, it’s important that you tell their school – even if they take a packed lunch – as this enables them to claim pupil premium.