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:

  • schools maintained by the local authority, 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 AP, with local authority agreement
  • non-maintained special schools (NMSS), for children with special educational needs as approved by the Secretary of State for Education under section 342 of the Education Act 1992

Funding for financial year 2016 to 2017

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

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

Schools will receive £1,900 for any pupil:

  • identified in the January 2016 school census or the alternative provision census as having left local-authority care as a result of one of the following:
    • adoption
    • a special guardianship order
    • a child arrangements order (previously known as a residence order)
  • who has been in local-authority care for 1 day or more
  • recorded as both eligible for FSM in the last 6 years and as being looked after (or as having left local-authority care)

For the pupils who attract the £1,900 rate, the virtual school head of the local authority that looks after the pupil will manage the funding.

This short video answers some of the most common pupil premium questions we receive from academies and free schools.

Focus on pupil premium: 2016 to 2017

Funding allocations

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

You can find more information about the terms of the funding in the conditions of grant document.

Payments in the 2016 to 2017 financial year

Payments for local-authority-maintained schools (including special schools and PRUs), and NMSS

We pay 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

Payments for academies and free schools (including special academies and AP academies)

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

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

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

Funding for financial year 2017 to 2018

You can find details and rates for pupil premium funding in the 2017 to 2018 financial year 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 FSM 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 receive.

Using the pupil premium effectively

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has produced a teaching and learning toolkit to help teachers and schools use the pupil premium effectively to support disadvantaged pupils.

EEF’s families of schools database helps teachers learn about effective practice from similar schools.

EEF 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:

Read guidance on how to commission a pupil premium review.


Ofsted inspections

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

Online reporting

Schools maintained by the local authority must publish their strategy for using the pupil premium on their website. You can find details of the specific information you need to publish in our guidance on what local-authority-maintained schools must publish online.

Academies and free schools should read their funding agreements to identify what they need to publish on their website. 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.

Published 25 March 2014
Last updated 22 February 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated to include information on pupil premium for financial year 2017 to 2018.
  2. Updated information on pupil premium reviews and what information schools need to publish on their websites.
  3. Updated information on 2016 to 2017 allocations and payment dates.
  4. Updated Ofsted inspection framework link under the 'Accountability' heading.
  5. Removed outdated information about Pupil Premium Awards.
  6. Updated with links to final 2015 to 2016 funding allocations.
  7. Updated with links to final allocations for 2014 to 2015 and provisional allocations for 2015 to 2016.
  8. Added details of pupil premium allocations and payment dates. Also updated information on accountability.
  9. Added information about pupil premium funding for the 2015 to 2016 financial year.
  10. Added information about the 2015 Pupil Premium Awards.
  11. First published.