Press release

Cash boost for disadvantaged school children

Detail of a 50% rise in the pupil premium.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

England’s most disadvantaged pupils are to benefit from extra cash next year when the Pupil Premium rises to £900 per pupil - around 50% higher than last year.

Schools receive extra cash through the premium for every child registered as eligible for free school meals (FSM) at any point in the past six years and children in care who have been looked after for six months.

Schools Minister David Laws said:

It’s unacceptable that children from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to do well in school than their peers. The coalition government has introduced the pupil premium to tackle this problem.

After just one year, many schools are already telling us that the Pupil Premium is making a difference.

This extra funding will help schools provide the extra support children and young people need to reach their full potential.

Statistics show that, in 2011, the latest available:

  • 35% of pupils on free school meals achieved five good GCSE grades compared with 62% of other pupils.
  • 58% of pupils on free school meals achieved the expected level in both English and maths by the end of primary school compared with 78% of other pupils.
  • The pupil premium was introduced in April 2011 and over 1.8 million disadvantaged children are benefiting from the extra cash that goes to schools. The total available through the premium has risen from £625 million in 2011-12 to £1.875 billion next year, and will rise further to £2.5 billion by the financial year 2014 to 2015.

Evidence shows that children from low income families generally do not achieve as well as other pupils. Schools therefore receive additional pupil premium funding on top of the school budget to enable them to support these pupils in reaching their potential and to help schools reduce educational inequality.

Just 13.2 % of children looked after by local authorities achieve 5 good GCSE grades, including English and maths, and the government wants them to benefit from the extra funding through the premium.

Whilst schools have the freedom to use the pupil premium funding in innovative ways, it is vital they use it to boost results for the most disadvantaged pupils. They will be held to account by Ofsted through its inspections which include a closer focus on premium use and the performance of pupils who attract it, as well as a focus on the achievement of disadvantaged pupils in the school performance tables. Schools are also required to publish online details of their premium spend for parents.

Summer schools

Following the popularity of the summer schools for Pupil Premium pupils, the Government will be making £50 million available for the scheme to run again next year.

Nearly 2000 schools received government funding to run a summer school this year, providing up to two weeks of support for around 65,000 disadvantaged children. Schools offered a range of activities aimed at helping children settle in to the new school, ranging from catch-up lessons for those children needing extra help, to extra-curricular activities such as theatre trips, and Olympics-related sporting events.

Pupils can struggle to make the jump to secondary education. Moving to a larger school and having to tackle a more challenging curriculum can be daunting for some pupils. This results in a dip in their performance, which can persist throughout their time at school.


Notes to editors

  1. The Department for Education has also confirmed that the per pupil level of the pupil premium for the financial year 2012 to 2013 will rise from £600 to £619. This follows a smaller-than-expected rise in the number of pupils registering for free school meals in January 2012. The allocations to schools will be revised to reflect this change in the per pupil amount.

  2. Details of how secondary schools can sign up to run summer schools in 2013 will be announced shortly. Further information on the Pupil premium summer schools can be found online.

  3. The Department for Education will be announcing further details on the Service Children’s Premium for the 2013 to 2014 financial year shortly.

  4. Evidence notes on approaches to raising the attainment of disadvantaged pupils, as well as the Sutton Trust/EEF toolkit.

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Published 24 September 2012