How to spend your Pupil Premium – what does the guidance tell us?

When the government introduced pupil premium back in April 2011 it made clear that it would not dictate to schools how they should use this funding. However  in September 2012, Ofsted published a report entitled:

The Pupil Premium – How schools are using the Pupil Premium funding to raise achievement for disadvantaged pupils

The key findings from this report were as follows:

  • Only one in 10 school leaders said that the Pupil Premium had significantly changed the way that they supported pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • School leaders commonly said that they were using the funding to maintain or enhance existing provision rather than to put in place new initiatives.
  • Schools did not routinely disaggregate the Pupil Premium funding from their main budget, especially when receiving smaller amounts.
  • Inspectors saw little evidence of a strong focus on the Pupil Premium by governors or managing committees.
  • Very few schools said the Pupil Premium was having any impact on their approach to admissions or exclusions.

Since then much guidance has been offered on the effective use of this funding. For example a further report was published by Ofsted in January 2013:-

‘The Pupil Premium – How schools are spending the funding successfully to maximise achievement’

This report is accompanied by a set of documents to help schools to analyse gaps in achievement and plan their actions effectively: –

‘The Pupil Premium – Analysis and challenge tools for schools’

At the same time the Education Endowment fund in partnership with the Sutton Trust have been developing a Toolkit for Teachers on the startegies that make the biggest difference to Pupil Premium Pupils.

Pupil Premium

Here is some information about the top 3 ‘Big Hitters’

  • Feedback – Providing younger people with feedback on their performance is highly effective in raising performance. If young people know how well they are doing in relation to specific targets and goals they are far better placed to make improvement
  • Meta-Cognition and Self regulation – Helping young people to talk about their learning and performance and encouraging them to become more reflective and more independent.
  • Peer Tutoring – Offering Mentoring, coaching and peer to peer support helps young people to improve their performance.

Schools should consider each of these documents carefully when deciding how to spend their pupil premium funding as they need to demonstrate a clear link between funding and impact on pupil performance.

Have a look also at this review of our recent Primary Heads’ Conference which focussed on closing the gap and included sessions from Lynne Gavin, Headteacher of Pakeman Primary in Islington, who shared her school’s inspirational journey to winning the National Pupil Premium award for 2013.

For more information on effective use of pupil premium or any other school improvement or professional development issues please contact the Learning Exchange advisers on 01934 427508 or send us a quick email using this form.


Neil Harris



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