Eligibility and funding amounts
The pupil premium is a grant given to schools to close the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers, and to support pupils with parents in the armed forces. Schools receive money for each pupil of compulsory school age who fits the eligibility criteria. There are five categories of eligibility, with different amounts of funding attached.
The grant is allocated in line with the financial year, which begins in April. Allocations are based on data from the previous January census. If an eligible pupil joins after this census, the school will not receive their allocation until the following year. Maintained schools receive the grant through their local authority (LA). Academies receive it directly from the Education and Skills Funding Agency. All schools receive quarterly instalments. Pupil premium funding for looked-after children (LAC) is not allocated to schools but to the virtual school head in the LA, who works with schools to decide how it will be spent.
Spending the grant
Schools can spend the grant as they see fit, if it is to demonstrably improve the attainment of eligible pupils. Schools do not need to spend an equal amount on each pupil, or fund interventions that benefit only eligible pupils. However, the grant should not fund free school meals.