The Pupil Premium explained
All schools need to ensure that they are able to give a full account of the use of Pupil Premium funding, allocated to the school on the basis of those pupils who are in receipt of free school meals. From 2012 national school performance tables will include information about the progress of pupils in receipt of Pupil Premium and, from September 2012, all schools will be required to publish information to parents about:
- How pupil premium funding has been used
- What impact it has had on pupil progress.
The Pupil Premium is allocated in order that support is given to those children identified as being entitled to and in receipt of free school meals. However, it is not ring-fenced to those children and can be spent in any way that the school sees fit, so long as the school is able to demonstrate that the specific needs of the FSM pupils have been addressed and how this additional – and specific – funding, which is intended to compensate for disadvantage, is being used for this purpose.
School leaders and governing bodies need to ensure that their school is tracking the progress of pupils inreceipt of free school meals (FSM) to demonstrate how the school is using the Pupil Premium. It is for the school to determine how best to use the funding – there is no prescription within allocation(s) other than funding should not be simply added to the Dedicated Schools Grant budget allocation in order to compensate for any recent financial cutbacks to schools.
From September 2012 school leaders and governing bodies need to ensure that their school is publishing information to parents about how all Pupil Premium funding has been used and what the impact has been on learning, attainment and pupil wellbeing and/or pastoral care – particularly if the child has a parent on active service with the armed forces.
Take-up of Free School Meals and Pupil Premium
Schools may also wish to consider what approaches can be taken to encourage the take-up of free school meals by those that are eligible but who are not currently claiming. It is important to highlight to parents the importance of registering their child’s entitlement even where a school meal is not being regularly taken – parents should be reminded that the additional funding support made available through the Pupil Premium can only be accessed when entitlement is formally registered.
In addressing FSM entitlement, governing bodies should consider and review the measures that their school is taking to minimise the potential for the stigma that is still associated with registering for free school meals.
Pupil premium accountability at the Skegness Junior Academy
The allocation of the Free School Meal budget supported ensuring rapid and sustained progress was made: