The Purpose of Pupil Premium

Publicly-funded schools in England get extra funding from the government to help them improve the attainment of their disadvantaged pupils.

Evidence shows that children from disadvantaged backgrounds:

  1. ·         generally face extra challenges in reaching their potential at school
  2. ·         often do not perform as well as their peers

The pupil premium grant is designed to allow schools to help disadvantaged pupils by improving their progress and the exam results they achieve.

Pupil Premium is an allocation of funding from the Government that is given separately to the main school budget.  The government provide this money to help school address the current national underlying inequalities between children eligible for free school meals (FSM) and their peers. The funding is to ensure that provision is in place for those disadvantaged children who need it most.

The pupil premium was introduced in April 2011 and is allocated to schools to work with pupils who have been registered for free school meals at any point in the last six years (known as ‘Ever 6 FSM’). There is also an allocation for children who are “Looked After”, adopted or children of service personnel.

Since the introduction of Free School Meals for Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, these children may miss out on this additional funding. We do encourage parents to complete a form if they think they may be eligible, even if they do not need to claim a free meal.

What is the difference between Pupil Premium and Free School Meals (FSM)?

Pupil Premium Grant: The pupil premium is additional funding for publicly funded schools in England to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils and close the gap between them and their peers.

Free School Meals: this is one aspect of support available to families of lower income. Free School Meals is part of the Pupil Premium Grant

How might a child be eligible for FSM or Pupil Premium Funding?

A child may be eligible to receive the Pupil Premium Grant/Free School Meals if the parent receives any of the following Income Support

  1. Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  2. Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  3. Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  4. the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  5. Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  6. Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  7. Universal Credit

Children who get any of the above benefits in their own right (ie they get benefits payments directly, instead of through a parent or guardian) can also get the Pupil Premium Grant/Free School Meals.
Children under the compulsory school age who are in full time education may also be able to get Pupil Premium Grant/Free School Meals. 

How do I apply for FSM?

Pupil premium application – Dorset Council sel – Introductionf-service portal (

Service Pupil Premium

What is the Service Pupil Premium (SPP)?

  1. SPP is money that is paid directly to state schools, free schools and academies across England for supporting Service children. The amount is £310 per child in Years R-11.
  2. The Premium was introduced by the Department for Education (DfE) as part of the commitment to delivering the Armed Forces Covenant. The premium enables schools to provide extra, mainly pastoral, support for children with parents in the Armed Forces.
  3. This premium is for children of currently serving Service personnel, children of serving parents who are a member of the Full Time Reserve Service on Full Commitment and their role is deployable, for those who have had a Service parent who has died in Service and also those who have left including through injury for up to a maximum of six years.
  4. Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have their own administrations and therefore have different arrangements. The funding in Northern Ireland is sourced differently and is applied for in October each year. This funding is also not for independent schools or for MOD Schools. For any enquiries about the funding in Northern Ireland, please contact the NI Education Support Officer at
  5. SPP is different from the Pupil Premium. Very few Service children are eligible for the Pupil Premium.
  6. Schools decide how the money is to be spent on Service children mainly on pastoral support. Unlike the Pupil Premium, SPP is not for attainment; however, mobile Service children may need targeted help in a new school to catch up with their class.
  7. Schools need to show how this money is spent, and OFSTED will check up on this. Different schools can and will spend the money in different ways; AFF has examples of best practice.
  8. A child must have a formal dependency on the Service parent to be eligible for SPP.
  9. If you home educate your child, you agree to take on the financial responsibility of them and therefore are not eligible for SPP.
  10. If you have spoken to the Head Teacher because you have a concern about how the money is being spent and haven’t received a satisfactory answer, then the best thing to do is to write to the Board of Governors.
  11. SPP cannot be claimed retrospectively.
  12. If your child was never registered for SPP whilst the parent was serving, and the Service person has now left the Services, then they will not be able to register your child now for the school to claim SPP.

What can you do?

In England, let your school know that you are a Service family so that this can be noted on the school census in October and enable the school to claim the Service Pupil Premium. Click here for examples of best practice.

Service pupil premium (SPP) – GOV.UK (

Service Pupil Premium – Army Families Federation (