QuickRead: Pupil premium

Read our one-minute summary of the pupil premium and download it to share with your colleagues.

Last reviewed on 8 March 2021
School types: All · School phases: All
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Eligibility and funding amounts

The pupil premium is a grant given to schools to close the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers, and to support pupils with parents in the armed forces (this part of it is also known as the 'service premium').

You receive money for each pupil of compulsory school age who fits the eligibility criteria. There are 5 categories of eligibility, with different amounts of funding attached.


The grant is allocated in line with the financial year, which begins in April, rather than the academic year.

From April 2021, the grant will be allocated based on the number of eligible pupils recorded at your school in the October 2020 census. This is explained in the DfE guidance updated in February 2021. If an eligible pupil joins after this census, you won't receive their allocation until the following year.

The rates will remain unchanged for the financial year 2021-22.

Maintained schools receive the grant through their local authority (LA). Academies receive it directly from the Education and Skills Funding Agency. All schools receive quarterly instalments.

Pupil premium funding for looked-after children (LAC) is allocated to the virtual school head in the LA, rather than schools. The virtual school head will work with schools to decide how it'll be spent.

Spending the grant

You can spend the grant as you see fit, as long as you can demonstrate your spending is improving the attainment of eligible pupils. You don't need to spend an equal amount on each pupil, or fund interventions that benefit only eligible pupils. Don't spend the grant on free school meals, because there's different money for this.

Publishing pupil premium information

The usual publishing requirements have been relaxed because of coronavirus. You still need to write and publish your strategy statement for the 2020/21 academic year, but you’re not expected to evaluate the impact of your pupil premium for all of the 2019/20 academic year. We cover this in more detail in our article on reporting on the pupil premium.

For maintained schools, for the current academic year, your strategy should set out:

  • The amount of the school’s pupil premium allocation
  • The main barriers to educational achievement faced by eligible pupils, how the grant will be spent to address these barriers, the reasons for this approach and how impact will be measured
  • The date of the school’s next review of its pupil premium strategy

If you're in an academy, you should check your funding agreement to confirm exactly what you must publish, but the Department for Education recommends you also publish the above information.

Early years pupil premium

The early years pupil premium (EYPP) is for disadvantaged children aged 3 and 4 years old. All providers who are eligible to receive early education funding are also eligible to receive the EYPP.

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The information in this QuickRead was taken from the following sources:

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