What is the Pupil Premium?
The pupil premium is a government scheme that was introduced in 2011 to improve the education of underprivileged children. It was launched after several research papers suggested that there was a significant gap between the educational performance of disadvantaged children and their classmates. In contrast to the rest of their classmates, many children who are eligible for pupil premium have to face extra challenges daily. These challenges can include attendance issues, lack of confidence and difficulty communicating with others.
The scheme aims to grant schools with extra funding so that they’re able to provide additional support for children who are faced with these types of challenges. It’s objective is to help schools unlock the learning potential of their pupils and provide them with a better education. It also aspires to narrow the gap of educational development between children of underprivileged backgrounds and their peers.
The Government have used pupils entitled to Free School meals as an indicator for entitlement to this funding, and have deployed a fixed amount of money to schools per pupil, based on the number of pupils eligible for free school meals. Looked After Children and those of Armed Service Personnel are also eligible for this increased funding.
How do schools spend the pupil premium?
Schools are allowed to spend their pupil premium funding in whatever ways they see fit. This is because teachers and educational leaders are the most qualified at identifying what their pupils need most. However, the government advises that schools carefully plan their spending and ensure that the funding is not simply absorbed into the mainstream school budget. They are encouraged to ensure that spending is carefully targeted to increase the achievements of their disadvantaged pupils. Research has continued to show that if spent in the correct ways, pupil premium funding can help to increase the academic ability of underprivileged children; particularly in core subjects such as Maths and English.