Today (9th October), the latest quarterly instalment of the pupil premium (PP) will be distributed to academies across England.
So, first things first- what exactly is the purpose of the pupil premium?
The PP grant is dedicated to enhancing the educational outcomes of disadvantaged pupils. It is paid to local authorities and it’s up to them to distribute it to mainstream schools they maintain based on the number of pupils receiving free school meals and/or classed as ‘looked after’ (because they have previously been or are currently looked after by the local authority).
Local authorities have to return pupil premium not distributed by March to the Department for Education (in 2021-2022 AY the total returned was £409,594.50 from a total £2.5 billion). For the 2020-2021 financial year, pupil premium funding was £2.4 billion, and for the 2021-2022 financial year it rose to £2.5 billion.
It is also paid directly to academy trusts, free schools (legally classed as academies) and non-maintained special schools. And today marks the second payment of four that academies will received in the 23/24 AY.
Notably, in this financial year, pupil premium spending has increased to almost £2.9 billion.
Who is eligible for the PP funding?
Children who are eligible for the PP grant fit into one of these three groups:
Students who are currently eligible for free school meals, or have been eligible in the past six years
Children who are under the care of the local authorities, known as looked-after children
Children who were previously under the care of a local authority or another form of state care, often referred to as previously looked-after children
How is money allocated?
While there are general guidelines regards how the pupil premium grant should be spent, academies largely have flexibility and there are various avenues to consider.
As October includes World Mental Health Day, schools may choose to utilise pupil premium funds to pay for enhanced mental health and well-being support for disadvantaged students for example.
This could involve organising workshops or training for staff, bringing in external specialists to deliver mental health awareness sessions, or implementing mindfulness programmes to promote emotional well-being.
Alternatively, as the mornings begin to grow colder, schools may also consider using the funding to provide transportation for disadvantaged students. Ensuring access to school for those who may have geographical barriers is likely to help boost their educational success. After all, good attendance results in better grades.
Schools may also use the funding to implement additional tutoring sessions for disadvantaged students. The personal circumstances of some PP students may have impacted their academic performance. As a result, targeted support sessions from tutoring companies may be introduced to help bridge the attainment gap between the pupil and their peers. Last year the pupil premium students we tutored at academies included key stage 2, 3 and 4 and average attainment across these groups increased by 6 months.
From transportation to tutoring for schools, it’s clear there are many ways academies can use the pupil premium. Talk to our team today to find out how our qualified UK teachers can help your disadvantaged students.