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Pupil Premium

Purpose, Use and Eligibility


Publicly-funded schools in England get extra funding from the government to help them improve the attainment of their disadvantaged pupils.

Evidence shows that children from disadvantaged backgrounds:

  • generally face extra challenges in reaching their potential at school
  • often do not perform as well as their peers

The pupil premium grant is designed to allow schools to help disadvantaged pupils by improving their progress and the exam results they achieve.

Use of the pupil premium

It’s up to school leaders to decide how to spend the pupil premium.This is because school leaders are best-placed to assess their pupils’ needs and use funding to improve attainment.

Tiered approach

Evidence suggests that pupil premium spending is most effective when schools use a tiered approach, targeting spending across the following 3 areas below but focusing on teaching quality - investing in learning and development for teachers.

Read the Education Endowment Foundation’s (EEF) pupil premium guide for information about the tiered approach to spending.


Schools arrange training and professional development for all the their staff to improve the impact of teaching and learning for pupils.

Academic support

Schools should decide on the main issues stopping their pupils from succeeding at school and use the pupil premium to buy extra help.

Wider approaches

This may include non-academic use of the pupil premium such as:

  • school breakfast clubs
  • music lessons for disadvantaged pupils
  • help with the cost of educational trips or visits
  • speech and language therapy

Schools may find using the pupil premium in this way helps to:

  • increase pupils’ confidence and resilience
  • encourage pupils to be more aspirational
  • benefit non-eligible pupils


Ever 6 free school meals

Pupil premium will continue to be based on Ever 6 free school meals, whereby pupils recorded as eligible for free school meals at the time of the October census, or at any point in the previous 6 years, will attract pupil premium funding.

Children adopted from care or who have left care

Allocations for previously looked after children (post-looked-after children) will be based on the October census for mainstream and special schools.

Looked-after children

There will be no change to the methodology for calculating allocations for looked-after children.

As before, ESFA will allocate a provisional amount per child looked after in June. That allocation will then be updated and finalised based on the children looked-after data return SSDA903.

Ever 6 service children

Service children are not disadvantaged but share the pupil premium payment process. Service child premium allocations will be based on the October census for mainstream and special schools.