Pupil Premium: Your frequently
asked questions - answered
This insight will answer all of the Pupil Premium questions you have ever wanted to know the answer to!
- How are other schools spending their Pupil Premium?
- How should you be spending your Pupil Premium?
- How do you evidence Pupil premium spending effectively?
- How will your spending affect Ofsted Judgements and what will inspectors be looking for?
Continue reading below to find out the answers to these questions and more, plus find out how you can ensure you are evidencing your spending effectively! There's also a free Pupil Premium Exemplar which you can download for free at the bottom of this page, this will allow you to see exactly how to capture all evidence effectively.
You can also view our previous post on an effective pupil premium strategy and suggested template format which can be downloaded for free.
What is Pupil Premium?
The pupil premium was introduced by the Coalition government in April 2011 to provide additional funding for disadvantaged pupils. The main difference between the premium and previous funding for disadvantaged pupils is that the premium is linked to individual pupils.
How much funding does each Pupil Premium pupil receive?
In the 2016 to 2017 financial year, schools will receive the following funding for each pupil registered as eligible for free school meals (FSM) at any point in the last 6 years:
|Eligible pupil groups||Pupil premium per pupil 2015-16 and 2016-17|
|Pupils in reception or years 1 to 6 recorded as 'ever 6 FSM'||£1,320|
|Pupils in year groups 7 to 11 recorded as 'ever 6 FSM'||£935|
|LAC and post-LAC||£1,900|
|Pupils recorded as 'ever 6 service children’||£300|
How can I spend my Pupil Premium funding?
The Department for Education (DfE) has published a document explaining the conditions of the pupil premium grant. This does not specify how schools can spend this funding, except to say that the grant may be spent by schools for:
- For the purposes of the school i.e. for the educational benefit of pupils registered at that school
- For the benefit of pupils registered at other maintained schools or academies
- On community facilities e.g. services whose provision furthers any charitable purpose for the benefit of pupils at the school or their families, or people who live or work in the locality in which the school is situated
How are other schools spending their Pupil Premium funding?
In 2015 Sutton Trust and the Education Endowment Foundation researched what were the main priorities for schools when spending their PPF and found that:
|With the money received through the Pupil Premium, what is the main priority for extra spending at your school in 2014/2015?|
|Reducing class sizes||3||3||3|
|Additional teaching assistants||10||14||5|
|More one-to-one tuition||16||15||17|
|Peer-to-peer tutoring schemes for pupils||1||0||1|
|Improving feedback between teachers and pupils / providing more feedback that is effective||4||4||5|
|Early intervention schemes||31||32||30|
|Extending the breadth of the curriculum||2||3||1|
|Improving the classroom or school environment||1||1||1|
|Offsetting budget cuts elsewhere||2||1||3|
From the table above it is clear that there have been changes over time. In response to the same question in 2012, there has been a decline in the number of school leaders saying class size is a priority and, encouragingly, a drop in the proportion saying they ‘don’t know’ (17% now compared to 28% in 2012). There has been a significant increase in the number of schools using the funding for early intervention schemes (up from 16% to 31%). There has also been small increases in the number of school leaders saying premium funding goes towards improving feedback and one-to-one tuition.
How should I be spending my Pupil Premium Funding?
In short this is all about ‘knowing your school’. As a school leader you should know what the barriers to achievement at your school are. You should also do your research to see what ‘similar’ schools are doing and how effective their strategies are proving. We all need to be sharing ‘best practice’. Other strategies are listed below:
- Use of funding should build on the key aims of the school development plan – you should not be view this as a separate activity
- Funding should be used to support ALL disadvantaged pupils, not just your underachievers!
- Gifted and Talented pupils eligible for the Pupil Premium should receive similar levels of support
- Effective communication with parents about the strategies that are being developed
- There has to be clear identification of the specific needs of your school, your pupils and your community context
What if a strategy is not having the desired impact?
You have to accept when initiatives and strategies are not working and be prepared to implement the need for modification, whilst maintaining the core values of your school. Inspectors will be far more inclined to judge the effectiveness of Leadership and Management good or outstanding if leaders implement changes quickly rather than leaders ‘ploughing the same furrow’ without getting the desired yield!
How can I find out how similar schools are spending their Pupil Premium?
The DfE have published for the first time this academic year what each school receives for their Pupil Premium Funding. Therefore you can then find similar schools and collaborate. We teach children not to be afraid when asking for support so why don’t we all practise what we preach!
How does pupil premium spending affect Ofsted judgements?
The School Inspection Handbook explains, in paragraph 141, that when judging the effectiveness of leadership and management, inspectors will consider:
"How effectively leaders use additional funding, including the pupil premium, and measure its impact on outcomes for pupils, and how effectively governors hold them to account for this."
The pupil premium is also mentioned in the grade descriptors for leadership and management, found on pages 41 to 44 of the handbook.
The ‘outstanding’ grade descriptors include the following:
- Governors systematically challenge senior leaders so that the effective deployment of staff and resources, including the pupil premium and special educational needs (SEN) funding, secures excellent outcomes for pupils.
- Governors do not shy away from challenging leaders about variations in outcomes for pupil groups, especially between disadvantaged and other pupils.
In the ‘good’ grade descriptors it says:
- Governors hold senior leaders stringently to account for all aspects of the school’s performance, including the use of pupil premium and SEN funding, ensuring that the skilful deployment of staff and resources delivers good or improving outcomes for pupils.
What evidence will inspectors consider?
Paragraph 29 of the School Inspection Handbook, linked to above, says that when preparing for an inspection, the lead inspector will analyse information on the school’s website, including its statement on the use of the pupil premium.
The lead inspector will also request that any reports following an external review of the school’s use of the pupil premium are made available at the start of the inspection, where applicable. This is explained in paragraph 38.
Paragraph 152 says that during the inspection, inspectors will gather evidence about the use of the pupil premium in relation to the following:
• The level of pupil premium funding received by the school this academic year and in previous years
• How the school has spent the pupil premium and why it has decided to spend it in the way it has
• Any differences made to the learning and progress of disadvantaged pupils as shown by outcomes data and inspection evidence
What will inspectors consider when comparing pupil progress data?
Paragraph 180 of the School Inspection Handbook says that inspectors:
"... will take particular account of the progress made by disadvantaged pupils from their starting points, especially the most able."
They will consider the progress made by the end of the key stage compared with that made nationally by other pupils with similar starting points and the extent to which any differences in this progress, and consequently in attainment, are diminishing.
In doing this, inspectors will take account of past cohorts and how well current pupils are on track to diminish any differences.
Paragraph 181 adds that for current pupils, inspectors will consider the impact of what a school is doing to reduce any differences in progress and attainment between disadvantaged and other pupils with the same starting points.
When inspectors are assessing these figures, they will compare the progress of disadvantaged pupils with all non-disadvantaged pupils, not just with those who have similar starting points. If inspectors only compared the progress and attainment of pupils who started at a similar level, they would be unable to establish if gaps in attainment between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged pupils are closing.
How can SchooliP and SchoolPro TLC support my school with Pupil Premium Action Plans and spending strategies?
You can utilise a template for capturing Pupil Premium information within SchooliP as part of an integrated school improvement software system. The template will allow you to evidence how you are allocating Pupil Premium funding effectively and enable you to show the attainment and progress of disadvantaged students to be raised. You can also explicitly link improvement objectives to departments, or even individual staff objectives to ensure that all improvement processes are streamlined and can be managed, evidenced, analysed and ultimately achieved.
SchoolPro TLC provides a service to validate your action plan as evidence to support your school and give you additional confidence during the build-up and preparation for any inspection, or as a tool for governance. We provide external, unbiased, feedback regarding your action plan and intervention strategies. This is not a daunting process. It is an evaluation of the work taking place in your organisation, working with your staff, building self-confidence and working with you to provide the best possible outcomes for your school.
Useful links for Pupil Premium:
Our free Pupil Premium Strategy document and templates to help guide you to effectively allocate and evidence your Pupil Premium spending.