Press release

Disadvantaged school children to benefit from £1.25 billion funding from April 2012

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

England’s most disadvantaged pupils, including looked after children, are set to benefit from £600 each after the Department for Education announced next year’s Pupil Premium will increase by £112 for each pupil.

  • Government’s Pupil Premium will extend to cover 1.77 million disadvantaged children

Pupil Premium

Over half a million additional children will also qualify for the premium as the Government has extended its reach to cover any child that has been registered for Free School Meals (FSM) in the past six years. For 2012-13, the premium will be worth £1.25 billion in total.

Children who have been eligible for Free School Meals at any point in their school career have consistently lower educational attainment than those who have never been eligible. In 2009-10 GCSE statistics showed that around a third of pupils who have been on Free School Meals in the previous six years achieved five or more A*- C grades, compared to more than two thirds of their fellow pupils. Pupils at secondary school are also less likely to be registered for Free School Meals even when they are eligible and so are more likely to be picked up by this approach.

The Pupil Premium provides additional funding on top of the main funding a school receives. It is targeted at pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds to ensure they benefit from the same opportunities as pupils from less deprived families. Currently, the premium is worth £488 and goes to children who are currently on Free School Meals. Children in care who have been looked after by local authorities for more than six months also continue to qualify for the Pupil Premium.

Children’s Minister Sarah Teather said:

For too long social background has been a deciding factor in a child’s achievement and future prospects. In a fair society, it’s the Government’s responsibility to close the gulf in achievement, where the poorest children are less likely to leave school with five good GCSEs than their less deprived classmates.

That’s why I’m delighted we are today announcing the increase in the per pupil level of the Pupil Premium for 2012-13, as well as extending the eligibility to reach more children. It will help school tackle the inequalities that have been a part of our state system for far too long. Thousands of children will finally be getting the extra support they need to succeed.

The Coalition Government’s commitment to providing extra funding through the Pupil Premium is set to continue, with total funding due to rise to £2.5 billion a year by 2014-15.

The latest figures available show that:

  • only 55.9 per cent of 11-year-olds known to be eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) achieved the expected level in both English and mathematics compared with 77.2 per cent for non-FSM pupils
  • just 31.2 per cent of pupils eligible for FSM achieved five A*-C GCSEs or equivalent, including English and mathematics, compared with 58.8 per cent for pupils not eligible for FSM.

The Department for Education is also reminding schools and parents across England to make sure those children eligible for Free School Meals are registered as soon as possible so that schools receive the full funding they are entitled to.

The school census is on 19 January 2012. Schools will be able to help parents to apply and their local authority will be able to say the last date applications can be submitted in time for them to confirm eligibility before the census.

Data shows that between three to five per cent of school children could be missing out on the extra cash - between around 200,000 to 350,000 children in England. It also suggests that families in the East Midlands, South East and East of England may be less likely to register their children for FSM, even when they are entitled to them.

Sarah Teather added:

It is essential that children who are eligible for Free School Meals are registered. This will ensure that their school doesn’t miss out on this funding and the opportunities it brings to our poorest children. I therefore urge parents of eligible children to register as soon as possible.

Up to £50m of the £1.25bn will be used to support a Summer School programme to help the most disadvantaged pupils make the transition from primary to secondary school.

It is for schools to decide how the Pupil Premium, allocated to schools per FSM pupil, is spent since they are best placed to assess what additional provision should be made for the individual pupils within their responsibility.

To monitor progress on attainment, new measures will be included in the performance tables that will capture the achievement of pupils covered by the Pupil Premium. From September 2012, we will also require schools to publish online information about how they have used the premium. This will ensure that parents and others are made fully aware of the progress and attainment of pupils covered by the premium.

Service children premium

From April 2012, the Government will provide a £250 per pupil premium to schools with service children - up from £200 this year. Currently 45,000 service children are eligible, which would mean they would benefit from around £11 million.

Our servicemen and women risk their lives for this country and it is a key part of the Armed Forces Covenant that we support their families. Whilst the attainment by service children on average is above that of their peers, they face unique challenges and stresses. The extra funding will help schools can focus on providing this additional, mainly pastoral, support.


Notes to editors

Information on illustrative Pupil Premium allocations to schools is available on the Department for Education’s website

For 2012-13, the Pupil Premium funding totals £1.25 billion - £1.2 billion for the Pupil Premium to schools and £50 million for a new summer school programme, announced by Deputy Prime Minister on 21 September 2011, to help the most disadvantaged pupils make the transition from primary to secondary school. Further information about the summer school programme, including how schools can access funding, will be made available in the New Year.

We know children who have been eligible for Free School Meals at any point in their school career have consistently lower educational attainment than those who have never been eligible. Current attainment data (2009-10) shows that at GCSE 32.8 per cent of pupils who have been on free school meals in the previous six years achieved five or more A*-C grades in GCSE compared to 63.5 per cent.

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