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 peers by ensuring that funding to tackle disadvantage reaches the pupils who need it most.
The Pupil Premium was introduced in April 2011 and is allocated to schools to work with pupils who have been registered for free school meals at any point in the last six years. Schools also receive funding for children who have been looked after continuously for more than six months, and children of service personnel and children adopted from care, or who left care under a Special Guardianship Order / Residence Order (eligibility dates apply).
In order for school to claim the Pupil Premium parents will need to inform the school about the child and provide supporting evidence, for example, show the school the original Adoption (Court) Order, or enrolling for FSM.
The Government believes that head teachers and school leaders should decide how to use the Pupil Premium. The school is held accountable through:
the performance tables which show the performance of disadvantaged pupils compared with their peers;
the new Ofsted inspection framework, under which inspectors focus on the attainment of pupil groups, in particular those who attract the Pupil Premium;
transparency for parents as published online.
In most cases the Pupil Premium is paid direct to schools, allocated to them for every pupil who receives free school meals. Schools decide how to use the funding, as they are best placed to assess what additional provision their pupils need. Local Authorities are responsible for looked after children and adopted children and make payments to schools and academies where an eligible looked after child is on roll.