We’re coming up to the next instalment of Pupil Premium funding being released to schools in September. If you need a quick refresher about how the funding is decided, how it’s issued and what rules there are about how it can be spent, you’ve come to the right place.

What is Pupil Premium Funding?


Introduced in 2011, Pupil Premium is additional funding for schools, intended to be used to improve outcomes for disadvantaged pupils and close the attainment gap. 


Research has shown that children from lower income families, children from service families, and those who are or have been part of the care system often perform less well at school than their peers. The Pupil Premium scheme aims to empower schools to make changes which support disadvantaged children and remove barriers from their attainment and wellbeing.


It’s issued in several instalments throughout the year.


When is Pupil Premium Funding Released and how Much do Schools get?


The amount of annual funding each school receives is based on the number of pupils from different disadvantaged groups on their roll. For 2022-2023, this is based on the roll of October 2021.

 children on a trim trail

As of Summer 2022, the annual amount of funding breaks down as:


  • £2410 for every looked-after child
  • £985 for every primary-aged child eligible for free school meals
  • £1385 for every secondary-school-aged child eligible for free school meals
  • £310 for children with a parent in the armed forces


The total amount is released to schools on a quarterly basis over the academic year. Academies and non-maintained special schools receive funding directly from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). They also receive funds at different times of year than maintained schools. 


The next three dates as it currently stands are:


  • 10 October 2022
  • 10 January 2023
  • 11 April 2023


Maintained Schools will receive the funding through their local authority on these dates:


  • 30 September 2022
  • 30 December 2022
  • 31 March 2023


What Makes a Child Eligible for Free School Meals?


In all parts of the UK, parents receiving any of the following benefits qualify their child to receive free lunches at school:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guarantee element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (When your annual income is less than £16,190 and you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit)
  • Working Tax Credit 'run-on' 
  • Universal Credit


There are additional eligibility rules for children in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, mostly affecting those who can receive Universal Credit.


What can Schools Spend the Funding on?


The funding can be spent however the school sees fit, as long as it can be proved to benefit the disadvantaged children in their care.


Some popular ways to spend Pupil Premium funding include extra teaching assistants or one to one support, running breakfast clubs, English resources for EAL students, and learning-boosting resources such as tablets and laptops for classes.

look at outdoor classrooms for small groups

The Education Endowment Foundation suggests that a Pupil Premium strategy should be built on three tiers: teaching, targeted academic support, and wider strategies. In this model, you start by thinking about how teachers can be supported to provide the best education for every student, often through training or professional development.


From there, schools can consider targeted intervention such as TA support and small group interventions. Finally, school leaders look at non-academic barriers to success which may be more specific to a school community. This includes wellbeing and behaviour strategies. 


It can also be very specific ways to help individual pupils. For example, recent winners of The Pupil Premium Awards increased the attendance of a student who was consistently having problems using public transport by buying them a bike.


How Does the Funding Help Disadvantaged Pupils?


Research has shown that Pupil Premium helps to narrow gaps between disadvantaged children and their classmates, particularly in English and maths.

 children building blocks in a playground

One of the conditions of the grant from the Department of Education is that schools must provide evidence that their Pupil Premium spending strategy is informed by research. This aspect of their strategy statement means that schools must consider how every spend will directly affect vulnerable pupils.


This isn’t just in terms of academic outcomes, schools should be looking holistically at any challenges the children are facing which may be affecting their ability to access their education. In their guidance for school leaders, the UK government suggests that schools consider disadvantaged children’s:

  • Attendance, including any persistent absences
  • Behaviour incidences and exclusions
  • Wellbeing, mental health, and safeguarding concerns
  • Access to educational materials and technology
  • Mobility between different schools or locations


However, many uses of Pupil Premium can help much more than individual students. Teaching assistants can support small groups or float between several students. Similarly, equipment purchased to help the English or communication skills of one group can benefit everyone.


view our creative play equipment



Considering how to Spend your Budget?


Dbdplay create and install playground equipment based around specific learning outcomes, including improved communication, teamwork, and physical skills. 


We can also repair old equipment and surfacing, streamline playgrounds for school routines, and landscape unused areas. 


Contact us today to find out how we can transform your playground.


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Originally published Jul 28, 2022 3:05:16 PM , updated July 28, 2022


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