Education of disadvantaged children


Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are far less likely to get good GCSE results. Attainment statistics published in January 2014 show that in 2013 37.9% of pupils who qualified for free school meals got 5 GCSEs, including English and mathematics at A* to C, compared with 64.6% of pupils who do not qualify.

We believe it is unacceptable for children’s success to be determined by their social circumstances. We intend to raise levels of achievement for all disadvantaged pupils and to close the gap between disadvantaged children and their peers.

The government is also committed to ending child poverty by 2020 by helping disadvantaged children outside of school.


To raise the achievement of all disadvantaged pupils, we are:

  • providing £2.5 billion of pupil premium funding to schools in the financial year 2014 to 2015, and increasing this funding to £2.545 billion in 2015 to 2016
  • requiring schools to publish details online each year of how they are using the pupil premium and the impact it is having
  • holding schools to account for the achievement of disadvantaged pupils through Ofsted inspections and performance tables
  • ensuring schools making unsatisfactory progress seek expert help by undertaking a pupil premium review
  • investing £136 million through the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) to help schools raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils
  • promoting effective practice through a teaching and learning toolkit produced by EEF
  • making up to £50 million available for the summer schools programme from 2012


Pupil premium

In April 2011, we introduced the pupil premium and the service premium. This gave schools £625 million of extra funding to close attainment gaps for disadvantaged pupils and to assist with the pastoral needs of children with parents in the armed forces.

Pupil premium funding has increased year on year. We will spend £2.545 billion in the 2015 to 2016 financial year.

We published an independent evaluation of the pupil premium in July 2013.

Ofsted have published 3 reviews on how schools are spending pupil premium funding:

In June 2013, Ofsted also published ‘Unseen children: access and achievement 20 years on’, which provides a comprehensive review of the current pattern of disadvantage and educational success across England.

Summer schools

In September 2011, the Deputy Prime Minister announced the annual summer schools programme. The scheme supports disadvantaged pupils as they move from primary to secondary school. The summer schools programme 2014 opened on 4 February 2014.

We published an independent evaluation of the summer schools programme in June 2013.


The pupil premium is designed to address inequality by giving every school and teacher the resources they need to help their most disadvantaged pupils, allowing them the freedom to respond appropriately to individual circumstances. Further information is set out in the equality impact assessment on ‘The importance of teaching’ white paper, published in December 2010.

Who we’re working with

We are funding and evaluating several projects through the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).

The EEF is a registered, independent charity. They provide guidance on how best to use the pupil premium and have produced a toolkit for teachers and schools.