Pupil premium: funding and accountability for schools

How much pupil premium funding schools and non-mainstream settings receive, how they should spend it and how we hold them to account.

The pupil premium is additional funding for publicly funded schools in England to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils of all abilities and to close the gaps between them and their peers.

Pupil premium funding is available to:

  • local-authority-maintained schools, including:
    • special schools (for children with special educational needs or disabilities)
    • pupil referral units (PRUs - for children who can’t go to a mainstream school)
  • academies and free schools, including
    • special academies (for children with special educational needs or disabilities)
    • alternative provision (AP) academies (for children who can’t go to a mainstream school)
  • voluntary-sector alternative provision (AP), with local authority agreement
  • non-maintained special schools (NMSS - schools for children with special educational needs that the Secretary of State for Education has approved under section 342 of the Education Act 1996)


Financial year 2016 to 2017

In the 2016 to 2017 financial year, schools will receive the following funding for each child registered as eligible for free school meals at any point in the last 6 years:

  • £1,320 for pupils in reception year to year 6
  • £935 for pupils in year 7 to year 11

Schools will also receive £1,900 for each pupil identified in the spring school census as having left local-authority care because of 1 of the following:

  • adoption
  • a special guardianship order
  • a child arrangements order
  • a residence order

If a pupil has been registered as eligible for free school meals and has also left local-authority care for any of the reasons above, they will attract the £1,900 rate.

Children who have been in local-authority care for 1 day or more also attract £1,900 of pupil premium funding. Funding for these pupils is managed by the virtual school head (VSH) in the local authority that looks after the child.

Funding allocations

In June 2016 we published pupil premium allocations for the 2016 to 2017 financial year based on January 2016 school census data.

More information on the allocations is available in the conditions of grant document.

Estimate your allocation

We’ve published a list that allows schools to see how many of their pupils have been eligible for free school meals at any point in the last 6 years on the Key to Success website.

You can use this list to estimate how much pupil premium funding you’ll get.


Local-authority-maintained schools (including special schools and PRUs) and NMSS

We pay the pupil premium funding to your local authority in quarterly instalments, and they pass the funding on to you.

In the 2016 to 2017 financial year, we’ll pay pupil premium funding to local authorities on:

  • 30 June 2016
  • 30 September 2016
  • 29 December 2016
  • 31 March 2017

Academies and free schools (including special academies and AP academies)

We pay academies and free schools pupil premium funding in quarterly instalments.

In the 2016 to 2017 financial year, we’ll pay academies and free schools their pupil premium on the following dates:

  • 6 July 2016
  • 6 October 2016
  • 6 January 2017
  • 6 April 2017

Using the pupil premium effectively

Evidence of what works

The Education Endowment Foundation has produced a teaching and learning toolkit to help teachers and schools effectively use the pupil premium to support disadvantaged pupils. Its families of schools toolkit helps teachers learn about effective practice from similar schools. It has also produced an evaluation tool to help schools measure the impact of the approaches they are using.

You can find information on schools that have been recognised for their successful use of the premium on the Pupil Premium Awards website. We’ve encouraged all schools with excellent results to share their achievements, strengths and experience with other schools.

Pupil premium reviews

Any school can commission a pupil premium review to look at its pupil premium strategy and identify ways they can use the funding more effectively.

Ofsted will recommend that a school commissions a pupil premium review if they identify concerns with the school’s provision for disadvantaged pupils.

Other bodies may also recommend that you commission a pupil premium review, including:

Guidance on how to commission a pupil premium review is available.


Ofsted inspections

Ofsted’s school inspections report on the attainment and progress of disadvantaged pupils who attract the pupil premium. The Ofsted inspection framework and handbook are available.

Online reporting

From the 1 September 2016, schools maintained by the local authority must publish their strategy for the school’s use of the pupil premium on their websites. Details of the specific information you need to publish can be found in our guidance on what local-authority-maintained schools must publish online.

Academies and free schools should read their funding agreement to identify what they need to publish on their websites. Guidance on what DfE recommends you publish is also available.

The Teaching Schools Council has produced templates to help schools present their pupil premium strategy.

Performance tables

School and college performance tables also report on the performance of disadvantaged pupils compared with their peers.