The Pupil Premium is additional funding to help schools close the attainment gap between children from low-income and other disadvantaged families and their peers.
Evidence from national attainment data shows that, despite much hard work by schools and by individual teachers and Teaching Assistants, every year: around 30–35,000 children leave primary school reading and writing at the level of a seven-year-old or below around 30–35,000 children leave primary school with mathematical skills at the level of a seven-year-old or below around 23,000 children leave primary school with reading, writing and mathematical skills at the level of a seven-year-old or below.
Research shows that, of these children, a significant proportion are destined for failure at secondary school, at risk of truancy or exclusion and likely to find themselves without work, effective social networks or success in adult life.
The Pupil Premium is primarily aimed at Reception to Year 11 pupils who are from low-income families and are eligible for Free School Meals (FSM). This category now includes any child that has been registered for FSM in the past 6 years (known as ‘Ever 6 FSM’).
The funding also covers children in care aged 4–15 who have been looked after continuously for more than 6 months. A service premium has also been introduced for children whose parents are serving in the armed forces.