The pupil premium is additional funding for publicly funded schools in England to help raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils. This funding is to be spent to close the gap between a child and their peers.
The attainment gap is evident throughout all stages of education between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and their more affluent peers. The difference becomes more evident between pupils in secondary education and persists into higher education.
Pupil premium eligibility for looked after children (LAC)
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.
Foster carers do not need to do anything in order to claim pupil premium for their fostered child, this will happen automatically.
Payment of pupil premium
The pupil premium is extra funding paid to schools and not to the child direct. This funding is used to provide additional provision for their pupils that are disadvantaged. The school will assess and decide what the allocated funding is spent on to the benefit of their pupils. This doesn’t however mean that the funding is spent directly on a particular child but the funding can be spent in the general environment to provide a benefit to enhance the attainment of that child. Ofsted inspectors will report on how the funding is used by the school and the effects it has on the attainment of their disadvantaged pupils.
The DfE allocates a provisional amount:
• £1,900 per looked after child aged between 4 and 15
• £1,900 per pupil who has left local authority care because of the following:
- Special guardianship order
- Child arrangement order
- Residence order
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.
The pupil premium must be managed by the designated virtual school head (VSH) and used for the benefit of the looked after child’s educational needs as described in their personal education plan (PEP).
The VSH should ensure there are arrangements in place to discuss how the child will benefit from the allocated pupil premium funding with the designated teacher in the child’s education setting.
All mainstream schools (infant, junior, primary, middle, secondary, high schools, special school and pupil referral units) and academies are required to have a designated teacher (SENCO) 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.
Recommendations and expectations:
- Pupil premium should be used for its purpose and not absorbed into the mainstream budget
- Pupil premium should benefit the designated children and it needs to be clearly identified
- Pupil premium spending should be evaluated as fit for purpose
- Pupil premium should avoid being spent on activities with little impact on the child’s achievements
Free school meals
All children in reception, year 1 and year 2 in mainstream schools in England are automatically eligible to receive free school meals.
From year 3 onwards parents and carers do not have to pay for school meals if they in receipt of any of the following:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- The Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit, provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit* and have an annual household income (as assessed by HM Revenue & Customs) that does not exceed £16,190
- Universal Credit
*unless in the Working Tax Credit ‘run on’ – the payment someone may receive for a further 4 weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit.
Children who receive any of the qualifying benefits listed above in their own right are also eligible to receive free school meals
Points to remember:
- CHILDREN ENTITLED TO FREE SCHOOL MEALS ARE ENTITLED TO PUPIL PREMIUM
- LOOKED AFTER CHILDREN ARE ENTITLED TO PUPIL PREMIUM
- A CHILD RECEIVING PUPIL PREMIUM DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY RECEIVE FREE SCHOOL MEALS
- LOOKED AFTER CHILDREN ARE NOT ENTITLED TO FREE SCHOOL MEALS (due to foster carers receiving an allowance to cover the cost of all meals, however if the foster carer’s allowance does not cover all meals and they are in receipt of any of the previously mentioned benefits then the local authority has discretion over the decision)
See here for more detail pupil premium and free school meals