Read our policy paper for information on how the pupil premium is expected to help disadvantaged pupils.
This is advice for school leaders and teachers.
It may also be useful for parents, governing boards and local authorities who want to know how schools can use their pupil premium.
Effective use of funding
This section will help you identify the most effective ways your school can use the pupil premium.
You do not have to follow this advice, except where there’s a legal requirement, such as:
- funding agreements
- the conditions of grant
The National Foundation for Educational Research has recommendations for school leaders on raising disadvantaged pupils’ attainment.
Use a tiered approach
You may find focusing on just 3 areas of activity is most effective at narrowing the attainment gap. This tiered approach combines:
- staff development to improve teaching targeted academic support
- wider strategies that support readiness to learn
Education Endowment Fund’s (EEF): pupil premium guide
Read EEF’s pupil premium guide for detailed information on the tiered approach, including strategies, case studies and research on effective use.
The EEF Big Picture has evidence and resources that look at high priority issues for schools.
Wider school strategies (readiness to learn)
Although the main aim of the pupil premium is to raise attainment, you can spend your pupil premium on:
- non-academic outcomes, such as improving pupils’ mental health
- non-academic improvements, such as better attendance
- activities that will also benefit non-eligible pupils
Ofsted will look at this non-academic provision and readiness for life as part of your inspection.
Disadvantaged pupils with high attainment
Funding is not based on attainment and you’ll get the pupil premium if your pupils meet the eligibility criteria.
Evidence shows that disadvantaged pupils with high attainment are especially at risk of under-achievement.
Request a review
You can request a pupil premium review to help you identify more effective ways to spend your pupil premium.
You do not have to spend your pupil premium so it solely benefits eligible pupils. For example, you can spend it on pupils who do not get free school meals but:
- have or have had a social worker
- act as a carer
In EEF’s pupil premium guide, alongside targeted academic programmes, EEF recommends you focus on improving:
- teaching quality
- wider strategies supporting readiness to learn
Improving these areas will inevitably benefit non-eligible pupils as well.
You’ll receive your first payment 9 months after the start of the academic year. This is in the first quarter of the new financial year.
There is a time lag in receiving your first payment because we need to:
- validate the October census (apart from alternative provision settings – for these settings, we use the January census)
- add historic information on previous free school meal (FSM) claims
Pupils who move schools
As pupil premium is not an entitlement for individual pupils, you do not get an adjustment if a pupil leaves your school or joins another school.
The only exception is for permanently excluded pupils.
We’ll reduce pupil premium payments by the value of one pupil, pro-rated to the point in the financial year when the pupil left, for sending schools.
We’ll credit receiving schools by the value of one pupil, pro-rated to the point in the financial year when the pupil left the sending school.
Alternative provision schools
AP settings, with eligible pupils recorded in the census, will receive the pupil premium like all other state-funded schools.
You can include a pro-rata pupil premium sum in the cost of a place for pupils placed in AP settings:
- on a part-time basis
- who joined after the census
Errors in payments
Contact DfE if you’ve mistakenly recorded a pupil as eligible for the pupil premium.
We can change the national pupil database for you to correct individual pupil errors but we cannot amend your census return.
You must be transparent about how you spend your pupil premium so:
- parents, guardians can understand your pupil premium strategy
- governing bodies can see evidence-based practice so they can consider the rationale behind all pupil premium-related decisions
Auditing and accounting procedures
You should follow your school’s audit and accounting procedures about pupil premium spending.
Neither DfE nor Ofsted will ask you for itemised records of how you’re using your pupil premium.
Who must publish an online statement
Local authority-maintained schools must publish a pupil premium statement on their school’s website.
Most academies must also publish a pupil premium statement on their website. Check your funding agreement for more details.
While you may find disclosing the rationale behind complex choices difficult, it’s important that parents and governors can understand how you’re using the pupil premium.
This is the main purpose of the online statement.
- not intended to be an accounting tool
- not intended to monitor within-class or within-school attainment gaps
- not used by DfE to monitor how effectively you’re using the pupil premium
- not used by DfE to allocate future funding
- only used by Ofsted to help them prepare for their visit and not for any other purpose
You are required to publish your online statement in any specific format. You can use the Pupil premium: strategy statement templates. These are designed to ensure your statement meets the requirements of the conditions of grant.
Online statements are for parents and governors so you should write it with these groups in mind and not, for example, for DfE or Ofsted.
What to include
Your online statement should explain:
- how much you have been allocated this year
- how you intend to spend the pupil premium
- the rationale for your spending decisions, including the barriers you’re looking to overcome
- the intended impact
- what effect last year’s pupil premium spending had within your school
The length and detail of your online statement should reflect the size of your pupil premium allocation.
Whole-school and non-academic strategies
While it’s often difficult to measure non-quantitative outcomes, for example, improved resilience, you should still include these things in your online statement.
You may find it useful to describe:
- why you’re targeting non-academic areas
- what outcomes you expect to see
- any evidence you have that shows you’re making progress
You do not have to use this 3-year approach if you do not want to.
We recommend that you:
- take a longer-term approach to planning how to use the grant (for example, over 3 year period)
- update your online statement at least once a year, starting from late in the autumn term
You may find using the 3-year strategy approach makes it easier to plan your:
- teaching practice
- staff development
‘Key to success’ data download
Do not use Key to success for planning or delivering the pupil premium strategy.
Key to Success is a retrospective list of eligible pupils based on the October census, apart from alternative provision settings. For alternative provision settings we use the January census.
We recommend you:
- base your pupil premium strategy on your pupils’ needs at the time
- plan a 3 year strategy
- review your strategy regularly or at least annually
Service pupil premium (SPP)
SPP is an extra £300 for pupils from families who are serving or who have served in the armed forces.
SPP is not connected to disadvantage. It’s paid with the pupil premium to make it easier for schools.
Neither DfE nor Ofsted will assess how you use SPP.
More information is available on the Service pupil premium page.
Pupil premium plus
Your designated teacher for looked-after children must work with the local authorities who hold the pupil premium plus for your pupils who are in their care.
The grant should be used without delay for the benefit of the looked-after child’s educational needs as described in their personal education plan.
Adoptive parents and guardians of children who left care through a special guardianship order or child arrangements order
Your designated teacher should:
- encourage parents and guardians to be involved in deciding how pupil premium plus is used to support their child
- be the main contact for queries about its use