What is the Pupil Premium?
Introduced in 2011, the pupil premium is a sum of money given to schools each year by the Government to improve the attainment of disadvantaged children. This is based on research showing that children from lower income families perform less well at school than their peers. The pupil premium is intended to directly benefit the children who are eligible, helping to narrow the gap between them and their classmates.
Is your child eligible?
Schools are given a pupil premium for:
- Children who have qualified for free school meals at any point in the past six years. The school receives £1320 for each of these children.
- Children who are or have been looked after under local authority care for more than one day. These children are awarded a premium of £2300.
- Children from service families who receive a child pension from the Ministry of Defence. They are awarded £300.
In March 2018 the Government announced that free school meals would only be available to children in KS2 whose families have a net income of £7400 or under, effective from 1 April 2018. If your child was previously entitled to free school meals but is no longer, they will still receive pupil premium based on the 'Ever 6' qualification (a pupil who has ever had free school meals in the past six years).
How is it spent?
Schools can choose how to spend their pupil premium money, as they are best placed to identify what would be of most benefit to the children who are eligible. This fund is not designed to be given directly to each child but to support the work of the school in closing the gap between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged children.
Common ways in which schools spend their pupil premium fund include:
- Extra support for children within the classroom.
- Employing extra teaching assistants to work with classes.
- Running catch-up sessions before or after school, for example for children who need extra help with maths or literacy.
- Running a school breakfast club to improve attendance.
- Providing extra tuition for able children.
- Providing music lessons for children whose families would be unable to pay for them.
- Subsidising educational trips and visits.
- Paying for additional help such as speech and language therapy or family therapy.
- Funding English classes for children who speak another language at home.
- Investing in classroom resources that boost children’s learning, such as laptops or tablets.
Often, all of the children in a class will reap some benefit from how the school spends its pupil premium: for example, if the money is used to fund an additional teaching assistant who works across the whole class. It is important to note that funding is often used flexibly and creatively within schools and this can vary from year to year. To see more detailed information about how we use the Pupil Premium Grant, please see the reports in the document section.
How to claim
Prior to April 2018, children qualified for free school meals – and accordingly pupil premium – if you received any of the following benefits:
- Income support
- Income-based jobseekers’ allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Support under Part IV of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- The guaranteed element of state pension credit
- Child tax credit, provided that you are not also entitled to working tax credit and have an annual gross income of £16,190 or less
These benefits have now been rolled into a single benefit, called Universal Credit. From April 2018, free school meals and pupil premium will only be allocated to pupils with a family income under £7400 (net) per year.
Please speak to our Office Team who will be able to tell you what you need to do to register your child as eligible. The form is easy to complete and we are very happy to assist with this in a private and sensitive way.
What about universal free school meals?
Since September 2014, all children in Reception and Years 1 and 2 have qualified for free school meals, regardless of their family income. This is called Universal Free School Meals.
Only the children who would qualify for free meals under the income-based criteria will receive the pupil premium. Although your child will be in receipt of a Universal Free School Meal, if you meet the criteria for Free School Meals we would urge you to still complete the application form as this allows us to access vital additional funding to help support your child.
What if my child prefers a packed lunch?
If your child qualifies for free school meals, it’s important that you tell us – even if they take a packed lunch – as this enables them to claim pupil premium. This additional funding will help us to support the work of your child. It also means that should they change their mind or fancy a dinner one day, this can easily and quickly be arranged.
No other children or families are aware of Free School Meals Eligibility; it does not appear on the dinner register and is treated as confidential. There are substantial financial and educational benefits for claiming your entitlement. If you would like further information, please apply online to Rotherham Council or visit Riverside House: https://www.rotherham.gov.uk/info/200008/benefits_and_support/104/apply_for_free_school_meals