Detailed guide: Pupil premium: effective use and accountability

Department For Education

December 5
13:12 2019


Read our policy paper for information on how the pupil premium is expected to help disadvantaged pupils.

This is advice for school leaders and teachers.

It may also be useful for parents, governing boards and local authorities who want to know how schools can use their pupil premium.

Effective use of funding

This section will help you identify the most effective ways your school can use the pupil premium.

You do not have to follow this advice, except where theres a legal requirement, such as:

  • regulations
  • funding agreements
  • the conditions of grant
  • reporting
  • overpayments

The National Foundation for Educational Research has recommendations for school leaders on raising disadvantaged pupils attainment.

Use a tiered approach

You may find focusing on just 3 areas of activity is most effective at narrowing the attainment gap. This tiered approach combines:

  • staff development to improve teaching targeted academic support
  • wider strategies that support readiness to learn

Education Endowment Funds (EEF): pupil premium guide

Read EEFs pupil premium guide for detailed information on the tiered approach, including strategies, case studies and research on effective use.

The EEF Big Picture has evidence and resources that look at high priority issues for schools.

Wider school strategies (readiness to learn)

Examples of whole school activities and how they help close the attainment gap are available.

Although the main aim of the pupil premium is to raise attainment, you can spend your pupil premium on:

  • non-academic outcomes, such as improving pupils mental health
  • non-academic improvements, such as better attendance
  • activities that will also benefit non-eligible pupils

Ofsted will look at this non-academic provision and readiness for life as part of your inspection.

Disadvantaged pupils with high attainment

Funding is not based on attainment and youll get the pupil premium if your pupils meet the eligibility criteria.

Evidence shows that disadvantaged pupils with high attainment are especially at risk of under-achievement.

Request a review

You can request a pupil premium review to help you identify more effective ways to spend your pupil premium.

Non-eligible pupils

You do not have to spend your pupil premium so it solely benefits eligible pupils. For example, you can spend it on pupils who do not get free school meals but:

  • have or have had a social worker
  • act as a carer

In the pupil premium guide, alongside targeted academic programmes, EEF recommends you focus on improving:

  • teaching quality
  • wider strategies supporting readiness to learn

Improving these areas will inevitably benefit non-eligible pupils as well.


Funding rates and payment dates are available from Pupil premium: allocations and conditions of grant 2018 to 2019.


Youll receive your first payment 9 months after the start of the academic year. This is in the first quarter of the new financial year.

There is a time lag in receiving your first payment because we need to:

  • validate the January census
  • add historic information on previous free school meal (FSM) claims

Pupils who move schools

As pupil premium is not an entitlement for individual pupils, you do not get an adjustment if a pupil leaves your school or joins another school.

The only exception is for permanently excluded pupils.

Excluded pupils

Well reduced pupil premium payments by the value of one pupil, pro-rated to the point in the financial year when the pupil left, for sending schools.

Well credit receiving schools by the value of one pupil, pro-rated to the point in the financial year when the pupil left the sending school.

Alternative provision schools

AP settings, with eligible pupils recorded in the census, will receive the pupil premium like all other state-funded schools.

You can include a pro-rata pupil premium sum in the cost of a place for pupils placed in AP settings:

  • on a part-time basis
  • who joined after the census

Errors in payments

Contact DfE if youve mistakenly recorded a pupil as eligible for the pupil premium.

We can change the national pupil database for you to correct individual pupil errors but we cannot amend your census return.


You must be transparent about how you spend your pupil premium so:

  • parents, guardians can understand your pupil premium strategy
  • governing bodies can see evidence-based practice so they can consider the rationale behind all pupil premium-related decisions

Auditing and accounting procedures

You should follow your schools audit and accounting procedures about pupil premium spending.

Neither DfE nor Ofsted will ask you for itemised records of how youre using your pupil premium.

Online statements

Who must publish an online statement

Local authority-maintained schools must publish a pupil premium statement on their schools website.

Most academies must also publish a pupil premium statement on their website. Check your funding agreement for more details.


While you may find disclosing the rationale behind complex choices difficult, its important that parents and governors can understand how youre using the pupil premium.

This is the main purpose of the online statement.

It is:

  • not intended to be an accounting tool
  • not intended to monitor within-class or within-school attainment gaps
  • not used by DfE to monitor how effectively youre using the pupil premium
  • not used by DfE to allocate future funding
  • only used by Oftsed to help them prepare for their visit and not for any other purpose


Youre not required to publish your online statement in any specific format. You can use the templates on GOV.UK that are designed to ensure the statement meets the requirements, or create your own.

Online statements are for parents and governors so you should write it with these groups in mind and not, for example, for DfE or Oftsed.

What to include

Your online statement should explain:

  • how much you have been allocated this year
  • how you intend to spend the pupil premium
  • the rationale for your spending decisions, including the barriers youre looking to overcome
  • the intended impact
  • what effect last years pupil premium spending had within your school

The length and detail of your online statement should reflect the size of your pupil premium allocation.


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