Extract from DfE Publication, ‘Pupil Premium FAQs’.
1. What is the Pupil Premium?
The Pupil Premium is additional funding paid to schools in respect of their disadvantaged pupils (pupils who have been registered for free schools meals (FSM) at any point in the last six years or are looked after continuously by the local authority for more than six months). Schools receive this funding to support their eligible pupils and narrow the attainment gap between them and their peers.
2. But isn’t FSM an inaccurate measure of disadvantage?
FSM is the only pupil level measure of deprivation available. The link between FSM eligibility and underachievement is very strong and data on FSM is easily collected and updated annually. The FSM indicator best fits the rationale for the Premium.
From 2012-13 the reach of the Pupil Premium was extended to those who have previously been eligible for FSM at any point in the last six years.
3. Isn’t it too late to narrow attainment gaps once children start school?
We acknowledge that high quality early years support can have a positive and lasting impact on children’s lives. However, evidence is clear that schools have a direct impact on children’s attainment as well as influencing the home environment. Life chances are not fixed at age five and schools are independently important for improving children’s attainment and narrowing gaps.
Evidence shows that the most effective schools achieve this through a combination of high quality teaching, strong leadership, a relevant and coherent curriculum, a culture of high expectations and targeted catch-up and enrichment activities.
Intensive support in the basics (via one-to-one tuition or as a group) can enable children from disadvantaged backgrounds to catch up with their peers. Schools also influence how parents support their child’s learning and behaviour as they grow older and their needs develop. They can also help parents understand the breadth of possibilities open to their child and how their child can achieve their aspirations.
4. Do you think the Pupil Premium will really narrow attainment gaps?
It is not the funding itself that will improve attainment gaps, but how schools use it. Some children require additional support to meet their potential, and the Pupil Premium will provide schools with the resources they need to provide that support. Where funding is carefully targeted, UK studies do show an impact on attainment gaps for disadvantaged pupils – particularly in English and mathematics.
The Department has drawn together a range of resources schools can use to help inform their decisions about how to spend the Pupil Premium and raise attainment for disadvantaged pupils.
5. What is level of the Pupil Premium per pupil?
Disadvantaged pupils are pupils that have been recorded as eligible for free school meals (FSM) at any point in the last six years (Ever 6 FSM) or pupils in care who have been continuously looked after for more than six months by the local authority (Looked After Child). The funding for the financial year 2018-19 is £1320 per pupil. For Looked After Children; or children who have ceased to be looked after by a local authority in England and Wales because of adoption, a special guardianship order, a child arrangements order or a residence order; the funding is £1900 per pupil.
6. Why have you extended the Pupil Premium eligibility to Ever6 FSM?
Children who have been eligible for FSM at any point in the past generally have poorer academic results than those who have never been eligible for FSM. These pupils therefore should benefit from the additional support the Pupil Premium funding will be able to provide.
7. Why extend coverage to six years?
There is some under-reporting of free school meals (FSM) amongst secondary school pupils. Extending eligibility to those eligible for FSM in the past six years means that a child previously registered in the last year of primary education will remain eligible for the Premium up to Year 11.
The Department consulted on whether to extend coverage to those eligible for FSM in the past 3 years (Ever 3 measure) or the past 6 years. There was stronger support for the wider six year coverage with 44% supporting it compared to 28% for the Ever 3 measure.