Pupil premium: the facts

    Published: 04 January 2013

    Introduced in April 2011, the pupil premium is allocated to children who are looked after by the local authority, those who have been eligible for FSM at any point in the last six years (also known as Ever 6 FSM) and for children whose parents are currently serving in the armed forces. The level of premium for 2013-14 is £900 per primary pupil, rising to £1300 per pupil for 2014-15. Secondary FSM 'Ever 6' attract a premium of £900 rising to £935 in 2014-15.

    From April 2014 children who are looked after will attract a higher rate of funding than children from low-income families - the ‘Pupil Premium Plus’, which will be £1,900 per pupil for 2014-15. This is to reflect the unique challenges they face at school where they often struggle to keep up with their peers at both primary and secondary level.

    Children who have parents in the armed forces are supported through the service child premium which for 2014-15 will be set at £300 per pupil.

    Attainment gaps between pupils from deprived backgrounds and their more affluent peers persist through all stages of education, including entry into higher education.  The highest early achievers from deprived backgrounds are overtaken by lower achieving children from advantaged backgrounds by age seven.  The gap widens further during secondary education and persists into higher education.  The likelihood of a pupil eligible for FSM achieving five or more GCSEs at A*-C including English and mathematics is less than one third of a non-FSM pupil.  A pupil from a non-deprived background is more than twice as likely to go on to study at university as their deprived peer.  Source:


    It is for schools to decide how the pupil premium allocated to their school is spent.  Schools will be held accountable for their use of the additional funding to support pupils from low-income families and the impact this has on educational attainment.  School performance tables now include a ‘Narrowing the Gap’ measure showing how disadvantaged children perform in each school.  Since September 2012, schools have had to publish online details of their pupil premium allocation and their plans to spend it in the current year.

    Pupil premium eligibility criteria for Children Looked After (CLA)

    Children looked after by the local authority qualify for pupil premium from the Reception year through to year 11 and when a child becomes looked after continuously for six months during the financial year.  From April 2014, under the ‘pupil premium plus’ they will be funded from their first day in care. The local authority will allocate to the school a pro-rata allocation from the beginning of the first school term following the date on which the child becomes looked after for six months. The pupil premium for children looked after is paid directly to the school or the education provider in equal amounts each term.  For children in the care of Hertfordshire County Council, this payment is made in conjunction with the Hertfordshire Virtual School.  Schools that have children on roll who are looked after by other local authorities will be paid directly by that authority.

    All maintained schools and academies are required to have a designated teacher who is a source of expertise about the barriers to teaching and learning which prevent looked after children achieving their potential. The designated teacher also plays an important role as the main link with the local authority which looks after the child.  They have a duty under the Children Act 1989 to promote his or her educational achievement. It will be for the school to decide how best to use the premium to meet the educational needs of the child. In doing so, schools will want take account of the discussion and actions to narrow the achievement gap and promote learning from the Personal Education Planning meeting for the child or seek advice from the allocated Education Adviser from the Virtual School.

    Details of the policy adopted by Hertfordshire County Council for pupil premium and Pupil Premium Plus grant can be found on the Virtual School information on the Grid website at:

    Ofsted and pupil premium

    The most recent school inspection handbook produced by Ofsted states that its inspectors pay particular attention to how schools are using the pupil premium.  In September 2012 Ofsted published the results of a survey* it carried out to identify how schools were using this money to raise achievement and improve outcomes for pupils. Recommendations for schools from the survey include:

    • School leaders, including governing bodies, should ensure that pupil premium funding is not simply absorbed into mainstream budgets but instead is carefully targeted at the designated children. They should be able to identify clearly how the money is being spent.
    • School leaders, including governing bodies, should evaluate their pupil premium spending, avoid spending it on activities that have little impact on achievement for their disadvantaged pupils, and spend it in ways known to be most effective.
    • Schools should continue to seek ways to encourage parents and carers to apply for free school meals where pride, stigma or changing circumstances act as barriers to its take-up

    Ofsted now have a sharper focus to the performance and progress of pupil premium pupils in their inspections. It is unlikely that a school will be judged ‘outstanding’ if its disadvantaged pupils are not making good progress. Schools that are judged not to be using their pupil premium effectively will be expected to commission an external pupil premium review, led by a system-leader, in order to improve provision for their disadvantaged pupils.

    Schools must have Pupil Premium plans. One should focus on the 2012-13 year and show the impact of the use of the Pupil Premium funding allocated to the school. This should focus on how the funding has made a difference to children’s progress and attainment. A second plan should show what the school is proposing to do with the funding for the 2013-14 year. Both plans should be published on the school’s website

    The extracts below are taken from Ofsted inspections reports from Hertfordshire schools.  Although isolated quotes are better read in the context of the full report, these give a flavour of the range of comments that schools receive.

    Reports from schools with a ‘good’ Ofsted judgement

    Reports from schools with a ‘satisfactory/requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ Ofsted judgement

    The money available through the pupil premium for supporting pupils is well-used to provide staffing and other resources, including the development of nurture work.

    The governing body has not checked on how the extra funding provided through the pupil premium is being spent nor evaluated its impact.

    It (the governing body) deploys and monitors the use of the money available through the pupil premium well and has a good understanding of its impact, especially checking the success of extra staffing.

    The school is failing to promote equality of opportunity. Those pupils supported by the pupil premium make inadequate progress and gaps in achievement with other pupils are not closing fast enough.

    Pupil premium funding is used effectively to accelerate learning for pupils known to be eligible for free school meals. It is used to pay for them to attend Saturday morning club which is held in school. It is run and staffed by school staff and makes a valuable contribution to the development of pupils’ communication and social skills.

    Pupil premium funding is used to support students who are not doing as well as they could, with disadvantaged students being a high priority. For example, students who find mathematics difficult are catching up because additional support is provided. Similarly, the funding enables five students to benefit from extra music tuition. A new member of staff has been appointed to help students who might have previously needed support off-site. However, students from less well-off families do not yet do as well as others because the funding is not used exclusively for them and their progress is not checked thoroughly enough.


    * The Pupil Premium. How schools are using the pupil premium funding for disadvantaged children. Ofsted, September 2012

    How can we help you make the most of pupil premium?

    Herts for Learning can provide advice, guidance and training in effective ways of using the pupil premium and support for disadvantaged children.

    All of our central training is also available for local delivery as whole school staff INSET sessions or cluster sessions – please call 01438 845111 for more information. For further details or to book a place on any of our CPD courses please visit:

    For details of Governors courses please visit:

    Further information and advice on the pupil premium can be viewed on the Grid at: