Skip to content ↓

Pupil Premium

All publicly-funded schools in England receive extra funding from the government to help us improve the attainment of our “disadvantaged” pupils. (This term is used by the Department for Education.)

Evidence shows that children from disadvantaged backgrounds:

  • generally face extra challenges in reaching their potential at school

  • often do not perform as well as their peers

The pupil premium grant is designed to allow schools to help disadvantaged pupils by improving their progress. The pupil premium has the potential to have a great impact on the attainment and future life chances of pupils. It is not based on ability: research shows that the most academically able pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are most at risk of under-performing.

Schools receive £1,455 for every primary age pupil who claims free school meals, or who has claimed free school meals at any time in the last 6 years. This money is for schools to decide how to use in order to improve educational attainment of children from less privileged backgrounds. 

However, “Disadvantage” does not just encompass children in receipt of Free School Meals:



It is up to school leaders to decide how to spend the pupil premium. This is because school leaders are best-placed to assess their pupils’ needs and use funding to improve attainment.

Evidence suggests that pupil premium spending is most effective when schools use a tiered approach, targeting spending across the following 3 areas below but focusing on teaching quality - investing in learning and development for teachers:


Schools arrange training and professional development for all their staff to improve the impact of teaching and learning for pupils.

Academic support

Schools should decide on the main issues stopping their pupils from succeeding at school and use the pupil premium to pay for extra help.

Wider approaches

This may include non-academic use of the pupil premium such as:

  • music lessons for disadvantaged pupils

  • help with the cost of educational trips or visits

  • speech and language therapy


Schools may find using the pupil premium in this way helps to:

  • increase pupils’ confidence and resilience

  • encourage pupils to be more aspirational

  • benefit non-eligible pupils


All of our strategies to improve the outcomes of the most disadvantaged pupils are evidence-based and we are currently part of the Essex Disadvantage Strategy with Marc Rowland and the Schools Partnership Programme.