After prior attainment, poverty is the single most important factor in predicting a child’s future life chances. Attainment gaps between pupils from low income families and their more affluent peers persist through all stages of education, including entry into Higher Education. The Government believes that the Pupil Premium, which is additional to main school funding, is the best way to address the current underlying inequalities between children eligible for free school meals (FSM) and their wealthier peers by ensuring that funding to tackle disadvantage, reaches the pupils who need it most.
The Pupil Premium was first introduced in 2011 and is paid into schools. It is allocated to children from low-income families who are currently eligible for free school meals (FSM) and children who have been ‘looked after’ (in the care of the local authority) continuously for more than 6 months. The Premium is also given to schools for children whose parents are currently serving in the armed forces. In 2012 the Government topped up the Pupil Premium to cover those children who have received FSM or been ‘looked after’ at any stage during the last 6 years.
How is the money spent?
Schools spend the Pupil Premium as they see fit and they need to decide what the aim of Pupil Premium is for their schools which will depend on its context e.g. the school, the teachers (knowledge and experience), the learners (attainment and social background) and the educational outcomes that require improvement.