When it comes to everyday school life, the costs can just keep adding up. From pack lunches or school meals to stationary to textbooks and more, there’s a lot for parents’ and guardians to look after financially for their child’s schooling. Some may struggle a little more than others when it comes to this and so there are schemes in place to help out and to improve the child’s education. One of these schemes for school children is pupil premium.
In short, pupil premium is a government scheme that provides funding to schools and local authorities to support the education of disadvantaged children. The idea behind this scheme is that these children will often need extra support due to facing more challenges than their peers. The scheme was launched in 2011 with the similar scheme pupil premium plus being launched in 2014. Pupil premium is based on income and background, whereas pupil premium plus is to support children who have left care.
Continue reading to learn more about pupil premium. This article will give you more information about how who is eligible for pupil premium, how much each child gets and how it can be spent.
Table of Contents
What is pupil premium?
In the UK, pupil premium is a government funding scheme that aims to improve the education of disadvantaged students. It was set up due to evidence showing that these students are faced with more challenges than others and often won’t get the necessary support they need to excel. To learn more about pupil premium, check out this governmental guide.
This scheme exists in different forms throughout the UK. While in Scotland pupil premium doesn’t actually exist, students can still be supported in a similar way due to the Pupil Equity Funding.
This scheme exists for the same purpose as pupil premium and works in a similar way. To learn more about the Scottish Pupil Equity Funding, check out this governmental guide.
Pupil premium vs pupil premium plus
When coming across different terms, relating to pupil premium and other government schemes, it can be difficult to know what the differences between these terms are. This is especially the case with terms as similar as pupil premium and pupil premium plus.
In fact, it can be easy to think of these as the same thing. However, this isn’t the case, as while both government funding schemes, they are fairly different.
Pupil premium plus or pupil premium for permanently placed children is a similar scheme to pupil premium, in that it is financial aid for students who have been adopted or otherwise permanently placed. The idea behind this scheme is that adopted or permanently placed children will often need extra support due to their personal situation that led to them being put into care in the first place and then being adopted or permanently placed.
Due to this, the primary difference between pupil premium and pupil premium plus is who they are intended to support. This is because pupil premium is based economic background, whereas pupil premium plus is for children who have been adopted or permanently placed. To learn more about pupil premium plus, check out this guide by Cumbria County Council.
Who is eligible for pupil premium?
There are a wide range of reasons that can make a child eligible for pupil premium. This will particularly be due to their family’s situation, particularly their income but in some circumstances, occupation may be a factor. If the family/child meets one of the following conditions, the child is likely to be eligible for pupil premium or a similar scheme.
- Receives income Support
- Receives income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Receives income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Receives support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Receives the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
- Receives Child Tax Credit
- Receives Universal Credit
- Child is in some form of care
- Parent of child is in armed forces
What age does pupil premium begin and end?
As mentioned above, there are a wide range of factors that can make a child eligible for pupil premium. While this is mostly to do with their family’s income and their background, other important factors will come into play. One of the most crucial of these is the child’s age.
For the child to be eligible for pupil premium, they will need to be between the ages of 5 and 16. This is compulsory school age, meaning that the pupil premium scheme will continue supporting the child throughout primary and secondary school as long as they remain eligible. This also means that it doesn’t include sixth form or college, likely as these are optional forms of further education.
To learn more about the age you need to be eligible for pupil premium, check out this governmental guide.
Pupil premium plus is also very similar in that students from Reception to Year 11 are eligible. However, certain funding may also be available for 3- and 4-year-olds in early years education. This is known as Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) and is separate to both pupil premium and pupil premium plus.
To learn more about the age you have to be for pupil premium plus, check out this guide by Cumbria County Council. To learn more about Early Years Pupil Premium, check out this guide by Oxfordshire County Council.
How much is pupil premium per child?
How much is allocated to each child as a part of the pupil premium scheme will depend on a few different factors.
First of all, the funding rates will change with each tax year, which begins on the 1st of April each year. Due to this, the amount each student receives will also change.
Other than that, the amount allocated to each child was also depend on their own circumstances. This is both dependent on the eligibility criteria and their age.
For the 2022/23 tax year, students eligible for free school meals or who had been in the past 6 years would have £1385 allocated to them if in primary school or £985 if in secondary school. Children under the care of their local authority as well as those that had left care or been adopted would have £2410 allocated to them, regardless of whether they were in primary or secondary school.
For the 2023/24 tax year, students eligible for free school meals would have £1455 allocated to them if in primary school and £1035 allocated to them if in secondary school. Children looked after by their local authority as well as children who have left care would have £2530 allocated to them for both primary school and secondary school students.
To learn more about this, check out this governmental guide. You can also see the table under a heading below, which summarises the information in this section and the previous one for the 2023/24 tax year.
How often is pupil premium paid?
In the 2012- 2013 alone, schools across the country were given a total of £1.25 billion between them through the pupil premium scheme to support disadvantaged students. As this is quite a large sum, it may make you wonder if this was all done at once or if schools received payments several times throughout the year. To learn more about this sum, check out this governmental guide.
Pupil premium is paid to schools in quarterly instalments. To be more specific, the payments take place in July, October, January, and April. To learn more about this, check out this page on the government website.
Pupil premium eligibility and funding rates
In summary of the information about who is eligible, the age and how much is paid, please check out the table below to see the pupil eligibility and funding rates. This table is correct for the 2023/24 tax year as of February 2023. Please note that if you are reading at a later time, it is possible that these figures have changed.
|Eligibility criteria||Amount of funding for each primary school pupil per year||Amount of funding for each secondary school pupil per year||Funding is paid to|
|Pupils who are eligible for free school meals, or have been eligible in the past 6 years||£1,455||£1,035||The pupil’s school|
|Pupils who have been adopted from care or have left care (pupil premium plus)||£2,530||£2,530||The pupil’s school|
|Children who are looked after by the local authority||£2,530||£2,530||Local authority|
To learn more about these rates and this table, check out this governmental guide.
What can pupil premium be spent on?
While pupil premium is allocated for each child, it is paid to the school. This means that how it is spent will subsequently be the school’s decision as long as it fits in the government’s framework.
Despite this, research shows that there are 3 uses that are the most effective. These are as follows.
- To ensure high-quality teaching, such as with additional staff training.
- To provide targeted academic support, such as with tutoring.
- To implement strategies to address non-academic issues, including attendance, behaviour, and emotional support.
To learn more about this, check out this governmental guide.
Does the government check what you spend it on?
While the funding is to support the education of disadvantaged children, it is not actually given to them and is instead managed solely by the school. However, the school must still demonstrate how they are using the pupil premium funding.
Schools publish a statement on their website to explain how they use the pupil premium funding and how it is benefitting disadvantaged students. They will also need to publish the performance tables, showing the results of students. Also, during Ofsted inspections, schools will need to demonstrate how they are managing the funding.
To learn more about this, check out this governmental guide.
When was pupil premium introduced?
Pupil premium was introduced in April 2011. It properly came into action for the 2012/13 academic year, when schools across the country were allocated more than £1 billion altogether. To learn more about this, check out this governmental guide.
Pupil premium plus was introduced in 2014. This was as it was recognised that children who had left care would often still need some extra support. For more on this, check out this guide by Cumbria County Council.
The Pupil Equity Funding scheme of Scotland is much newer than pupil premium and it was introduced in 2021. It forms part of the Scottish Attainment Challenge programme that was introduced from 2017/18, which aims to improve educational outcomes for children affected by poverty. To learn more about this, check out this governmental guide.