Pupil Premium Background and Legal Context
The most important factor in predicting a child’s future academic attainment is prior attainment.
The next most important factor is poverty. Material deprivation can influence educational outcomes by reducing the educational resources that families can provide and by adversely affecting the home environment. Deprivation is commonly associated with other factors which can influence children’s outcomes: ill health; family stress; low levels of parental education and parental involvement in their children’s education; low levels of cultural and social capital; and low aspirations.
As a result, there is a wide gap between the attainment of pupils from deprived backgrounds and others at all educational stages. The additional funding provided through the Pupil Premium was introduced by the government in April 2011 in order to help schools close this gap. Entitlement to free school meals (FSM) is used as a proxy for deprivation. A fixed amount, which is expected to rise year-on-year while the coalition government is in office, is allocated to schools for each pupil registered for FSM at any point in the last six years (known as ‘Ever 6 FSM’). Schools also receive funding for children who have been looked after continuously for more than six months, and children of service personnel.
The Department for Education has stated that schools: ‘are free to spend the Pupil Premium as they see fit’. However, as with all public money schools are required to spend the grant for the purpose that it was intended and will be held accountable.
Expectations are high for all pupil groups and individuals. We do not equate deprivation and challenge with low ability. Not all pupils who qualify for FSM are socially disadvantaged and not all socially disadvantaged pupils qualify or are registered for FSM. We therefore focus on the needs and levels of progress of all pupils. All teaching and learning strategies are designed to meet the needs of individuals and groups. Additional support is integrated into the teaching programme. Research, trialling and self-evaluation are used in order to allocate the funding to activities that are most likely to have an impact on achievement. In providing support we will not socially isolate pupils. Therefore it is likely that all groups receiving additional support will be a mix of FSM and non-FSM pupils.