Recovery funding

    Published: 13 December 2021

    In February 2021, the government announced a one-off recovery premium as part of its package of funding to support education recovery.  The recovery premium provides additional funding for state-funded schools in the 2021 to 2022 academic year. This funding is additional to pupil premium funding, to help schools to deliver an evidence-based approach for supporting disadvantaged pupils.


    All schools that are eligible for pupil premium are eligible for recovery premium. This includes the following types of schools:

    • mainstream primary, secondary and all through local authority-maintained schools, academies and free schools serving children aged 4 to 15
    • local authority-maintained special schools
    • special academies and free schools
    • non-maintained special schools
    • pupil referral units
    • alternative provision (AP) academies and free schools
    • local authority-maintained hospital schools and academies

    Funding is provided to local authorities for eligible pupils they have placed in independent special schools, where the local authority pays full tuition fees, as recorded on their alternative provision census (January 2021 census for the first 3 payments and January 2022 census for the fourth).

    Pupil eligibility

    The recovery premium will be allocated using the same data as the pupil premium. This means the following pupils will attract recovery premium funding to schools:

    • pupils who are eligible for free school meals (FSM)
    • pupils who have been eligible for free school meals at any point in the last 6 years
    • children looked after by local authorities and referred to as looked-after children (LAC)
    • post looked-after children (post-LAC)

    Funding allocations

    School allocations will be calculated on a per pupil basis. Mainstream schools will get:

    • £145 for each eligible pupil in mainstream education
    • £290 for each eligible pupil in a special unit

    Other types of eligible schools will get £290 for each eligible pupil.

    A special additional weighting has been applied to specialist provision recognising the significantly higher per pupil costs they face.

    There is a minimum payment that referred to as a ‘floor’ to ensure that:

    • an eligible primary school will not receive less than £2,000
    • an eligible secondary school will not receive less than £6,000

    As with pupil premium, the funding for looked-after children will be paid to the local authority and should be managed by the virtual school head.  For further information about allocations and the conditions of grant see the coronavirus (COVID-10) recovery premium allocations guidance. 

    Gov.UK: Coronavirus (COVID-19) recovery premium funding: allocations

    Payment schedule

    The recovery premium will be paid in 4 payments to schools during the 2021 to 2022 academic year on the following schedule.

    Maintained schools’ payment schedule

    Payments will be sent to local authorities on the last working day in:

    • September 2021
    • December 2021
    • April 2022
    • June 2022

    Academies payment schedule

    Payments will be made early in:

    • October 2021
    • January 2022
    • May 2022
    • July 2022

    Using recovery premium funding

    Schools should spend this premium on evidence-based approaches to support pupils. In line with the Education Endowment Foundation’s pupil premium guide, activities should include those that:

    • support the quality of teaching, such as staff professional development
    • provide targeted academic support, such as tutoring
    • deal with non-academic barriers to success in school, such as attendance, behaviour and social and emotional support

    Like the pupil premium, schools can:

    • spend the recovery premium on a wider cohort of pupils than those who attract the funding
    • direct recovery premium spending where they think the need is greatest

    Reporting and accountability

    Schools must show how they are using their recovery premium effectively:

    • by reporting on their use of recovery premium as part of their pupil premium strategy statement
    • through inspections by Ofsted - as part of the inspections, inspectors may discuss plans schools have to spend their recovery premium funding

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