Recovery premium: overview

Updated 30 March 2023


Recovery premium is part of the government’s package of funding to support pupils whose education has been impacted by COVID-19.

It is a time-limited grant providing over £300 million of additional funding for state-funded schools in the 2021/22 academic year and £1 billion across the 2022/23 and 2023/24 academic years.

It is focused on pupils who are eligible for pupil premium and pupils in specialist settings such as:

  • special schools
  • special units
  • pupil referral units (PRUs)

This is because of the additional impact of the pandemic on these students.

We want to support all schools to use evidence of ‘what works’, evaluated by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), to ensure this funding is used effectively.

Eligible schools

The following types of school are eligible to receive an allocation of recovery premium.

Local authority-maintained schools

This includes:

  • mainstream infant, primary, middle, junior, secondary and all-through schools serving children in year groups reception to year 11
  • schools for children with special educational needs or disabilities
  • PRUs, for children who do not go to a mainstream school
  • local authority-maintained hospital schools

Academies, free schools and non-maintained special schools

This includes:

  • mainstream academies serving pupils in year groups reception to year 11
  • academies and non-maintained special schools for children with special educational needs or disabilities
  • alternative provision (AP) academies, for children who do not go to a mainstream school

The recovery premium grant is also provided to local authorities for eligible pupils in independent special schools, where the local authority pays full tuition fees.

Pupil eligibility

Recovery premium allocations for mainstream schools will be based on pupil premium eligibility. This includes:

  • pupils who are recorded as eligible for free school meals, or have been recorded as eligible in the past 6 years, including eligible children of families who have no recourse to public funds
  • children looked after by local authorities, referred to as looked-after children
  • children previously looked after by a local authority or other state care, referred to as previously looked-after children

For other eligible schools, and special educational needs units in mainstream schools, recovery premium allocations will be based on all pupils registered at the school.

Funding rates for academic year 2023/24

Recovery premium allocations for academic year 2023/24 will be calculated on a per pupil basis, based on the following rates.

In mainstream education, the rates are:

  • £145 per eligible pupil in primary schools
  • £276 per eligible pupil in secondary schools

The higher rate for secondary schools reflects:

  • evidence that the pandemic has had a greater impact on the education of these pupils
  • that these pupils have less time remaining in school

For other eligible schools, including special education units in mainstream schools, the rates are double the mainstream rates:

  • £290 per pupil in primary education
  • £552 per pupil in secondary education

A minimum payment that we refer to as a ‘floor’ has been included to ensure that:

  • an eligible primary school will not receive less than £2,000
  • an eligible secondary, or all-through school, will not receive less than £6,000

To be eligible for the floor, schools must have at least 1 pupil registered on the October 2022 school census (for mainstream and special schools) or the January 2023 school census (for PRUs and AP providers).

Funding for looked-after children will be paid to the local authority and should be managed by the virtual school head in consultation with the child’s school.

The COVID-19 recovery premium allocations and conditions of grant for academic years 2022/23 and 2023/24 provides further information.

Payment schedule for academic year 2022/23

Recovery premium for academic year 2022/23 is paid in 4 instalments. The outstanding payments for academic year 2022/23 will be paid on the following schedule.

Payments will be sent to local authorities on:

  • 31 March 2023
  • 30 June 2023

Payments will be sent to academy trusts and free schools on:

  • 12 April 2023
  • 10 July 2023

Payments will be sent to non-maintained special schools in:

  • June 2023

Payment schedule for academic year 2023/24

Recovery premium for academic year 2023/24 will be paid in 4 instalments.

Payments will be sent to local authorities on:

  • 29 September 2023
  • 29 December 2023
  • 28 March 2024
  • 28 June 2024

Payments will be sent to academy trusts and free schools on:

  • 9 October 2023
  • 9 January 2024
  • 9 April 2024
  • 8 July 2024

Payments will be sent to non-maintained special schools in:

  • November 2023
  • December 2023
  • March 2024
  • June 2024

Funding paid to schools

To ensure that recovery premium is focused on effective approaches to raising the educational attainment of disadvantaged pupils, schools must use their recovery premium (and pupil premium) in line with the ‘menu of approaches’ set by the Department for Education.

The menu of approaches can be found in ’Using pupil premium: guidance for school leaders’.

The menu has been developed in line with the EEF’s 3-tiered approach to help schools allocate spending across the following 3 areas:

  • supporting high-quality teaching, such as staff professional development
  • providing targeted academic support, such as tutoring
  • tackling non-academic barriers to academic success, such as difficulties with attendance, behaviour and social and emotional wellbeing

In line with the EEF’s recommended approach, schools should prioritise high-quality teaching, though the exact balance of spending between tiers will vary depending on the specific needs of pupils.

The menu includes tutoring, but recovery premium conditions of grant for the 2022/23 and 2023/24 academic years state that schools must not use the grant to meet their portion of the costs of tuition provided through the National Tutoring Programme (NTP).

Schools should meet those costs from other sources of funding, including pupil premium. Recovery premium is additional funding to provide further education recovery support on top of the subsidised NTP offer.

Recovery premium is not a personal budget for individual pupils, and schools do not have to spend recovery premium so that it solely benefits eligible pupils. Recovery premium can be used to support other pupils with identified needs, such as pupils who have or have had a social worker, or pupils who act as a carer. It can also be used for whole class interventions, for example high-quality teaching, which will also benefit non-disadvantaged pupils.

High attaining eligible pupils should receive just as much focus as lower attaining eligible pupils when it comes to spending funding. Evidence shows that eligible pupils who are among the highest performers at key stage 2 are more likely than their non-eligible peers to fall behind by key stage 4.

Funding for looked-after children

Virtual school heads are responsible for managing the funding given to local authorities for the children in their care. They work with schools to ensure the funding is used to help deliver the outcomes identified in the children’s personal education plans.

They can pass all the funding on to schools or retain some to fund activities that will benefit a group of, or all, the authority’s looked-after children.

There is separate guidance about virtual school heads’ responsibilities for using recovery premium.


Schools must show they are using their recovery premium effectively:

  • by publishing a statement on their website which presents an overview of their pupil premium and recovery premium strategy, and demonstrates that their use of the funding meets the requirements of the conditions of grant
  • through inspections by Ofsted - inspectors may discuss plans schools have to spend their pupil premium and recovery premium funding
  • through scrutiny of pupil premium and recovery premium plans by governors and trustees
  • by declaring that they have spent the funding in line with the conditions of grant (including that it has not been spent on NTP) and can demonstrate this upon request

Virtual school heads demonstrate to Ofsted how they are managing pupil premium and recovery premium for looked-after children in their virtual school annual report.

Schools are also held to account for the outcomes achieved by their disadvantaged pupils through published performance tables.

Further information

For more information, you can read the guidance for school leaders on using pupil premium and the EEF’s guide to using pupil premium. These guides can be used to support use of both recovery and pupil premium funding.

The allocations and conditions of grant show:

  • the funding given to each school
  • the totals at national, local authority and parliamentary constituency level
  • how recovery premium funding must be spent