Pupil Premium

What is the Pupil Premium?

The Pupil Premium is additional funding given to publicly funded schools in England to raise the attainment of certain groups pupils* and close the gap between them and their peers.

Pupil premium funding is available to both mainstream and non-mainstream schools, like special schools and pupil referral units. 

It is allocated to school based on the number of children who come from low-income families - this is defined as those who are currently known to be eligible for free school meals. It is important to know that a pupil does not need to have a school dinner, but parents/carers must have applied and be entitled if they wanted one. 

It also includes:

  • pupils who have been eligible for free school meals at any point in the six years
  • children who have been looked after continuously for more than six months

First introduced in April 2011, the level of the premium in 2011-12 was £488 per pupil: it increased to £600 per pupil in 2012-13. This money is for schools to decided how to use but should be spent in order to improve educational attainment of children from less privleged backgrounds.

This is one of the government's key education policies. It is based on findings that show that, as a group, children who are eligible for free school meals at any point in time have consistently lower educational attainment than those who have never been eligible for FSM.


Free school meals are available to some children according to family income.

It’s important to register for entitlement to free school meals, even if your child has a packed lunch.

Children are entitled to Free School Meals if their parents, carers or guardians receive any of the following:

  • Income support
  • Income based job seekers allowance
  • Income related employment and support allowance
  • Guarantee pension credit
  • Child Tax Credit, but not Working Tax Credit, and an annual income lower than the limit set by the Government
  • Working Tax Credit Run On because you have ceased work or reduced  your working hours to less than 16 per week

* These groups of pupils are children who are looked after by the local authority, those who have been eligible for FSM at any point in the last six years (also known as Ever 6 FSM) and for children whose parents are currently serving in the armed forces.

Click here to find out about more information regarding the Pupil Premium.