“Britain has one of the widest and most entrenched education attainment gaps between poor and wealthier children in Europe….
Children from low income backgrounds are half as likely to get five good grades at GCSE as their classmates. … They are more likely to leave school at 16, more likely to become Neets (not in education, employment or training) and less than half as likely to go on to higher education.”
Guardian April 14th 2012
Ministers will be spending £2.5 bn a year on the Pupil Premium for disadvantaged pupils. Below are some FAQ’s about this flagship initiative to improve life chances and social mobility of less well of pupils.
What is the pupil premium?
The pupil premium is additional funding allocated to schools for disadvantaged pupils on free school meals (FSM).
What is the purpose of the pupil premium?
The purpose of this funding is to help bridge the gap of achievement between these pupils and their wealthier peers. This includes children in mainstream, non-mainstream and looked after children.
How much money is allocated per pupil?
The level of the premium in 2011-12 is £488 and will be increased to £600 in 2012-2013.
Who is eligible for the pupil premium?
Pupils who receive free school meals (FSM) and for pupils in care who have been continuously looked after for six months. A premium has also been introduced for children whose parents are currently serving in the armed forces; this is £200 in 2011-12 rising to £250 in 2012-13.
Which schools are included in this allocation of funds?
All state funded schools and academies via the Young Peoples’ Learning Agency.
How are the funds paid for looked after children?
Local authorities are responsible for looked after children in care and will make payments to schools and academies where an eligible looked after child is on roll.
What is the Summer School programme?
Up to £50m of the £1.25bn will be used to support a Summer School programme to help the most disadvantaged pupils make the transition from primary to secondary school. This approach received the highest support in the recent consultation with 44% of those responding backing its introduction.
Who determines how the funds are used?
In most cases the Pupil Premium is allocated to schools and is clearly identifiable. It is for schools to decide how the Pupil Premium, allocated to schools per FSM pupil, is spent, since they are best placed to assess what additional provision should be made for the individual pupils within their responsibility.
How does this intiative ensure that the funds reach the children they are intended for?
Schools are free to spend the Pupil Premium as they see fit. However they will be held accountable for how they have used the additional funding to support pupils from low-income families. New measures will be included in the performance tables that will capture the achievement of those deprived pupils covered by the Pupil Premium. From September 2012, we will also require schools to publish online information about how they have used the Premium. This will ensure that parents and others are made fully aware of the attainment of pupils covered by the Premium.
Ofsted inspectors will include a requirement for a report on the use of Premium Pupil funds in their inspection criteria from this summer.