Complete allocation: UK schools spend every penny of pupil premium for first time since beginning of pandemic

Image for blog on unspent Pupil Premium funds

UK schools spent their entire pupil premium allowance in the last academic year for the first time in three years, highlighting the urgent need for continued funds to support students’ education.

Local authorities are obliged to return unspent pupil premium funds to the Department for Education in the March following each academic year. TLC LIVE obtained data under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act, that shows, for the first time since 2020, no pupil premium funds were returned in 22/23.

Previously, £516,818 was returned following the 2020/21 academic year (from a budgeted £2.4 billion) and £409,594.50 following the 2021/22 academic year (from a budgeted £2.5 billion). The 2022/23 academic year, however, marked a significant change with schools fully utilising the available £2.6 billion, indicating how critical this funding is for the provision of educational support services amidst tightening budgets.

“The fact that no pupil premium funding was left unspent last year, signals the absolute necessity of this financial support. Students receiving pupil premium-funded tutoring show robust progress, with an average advancement of seven months in their key stage assessments, following our work with them, which demonstrates the efficacy of targeted and well-planned tuition, delivered by qualified teachers.”

TLC LIVE asked the DfE: “How much pupil premium funding, not passed on to an educational setting, or spent by 31 March 2023, was returned to DfE by local authorities this year? How does that compare to the two previous years (i.e. amounts returned in March 2022 and March 2021)? Can you please provide amounts in GBP for all three years.” The AY 22/23 data did not become available until January 2024.

As a government-certified tuition partner, TLC LIVE emphasises the success of tutoring that is aligned with the school curriculum—a method endorsed by the latest Ofsted review — to  improve educational outcomes for pupil premium learners.

Ready to learn more about TLC LIVE’s tutoring for schools? Get in touch today.