Luke Pollard MP Member of Parliament for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport
The pupil premium enables publicly funded schools in England to get extra funding from the government to help them improve the attainment of their disadvantaged pupils. Evidence shows that children from disadvantaged backgrounds generally face extra challenges in reaching their potential at school and 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.
However, the Department for Education announced last year that eligibility for the funding – an additional £1,345 or more for schools for each primary school pupil in England who received free school meals – would be based on the school census held in October 2020, rather than in January as in previous years. This date change means that children recently eligible for free school meals will not benefit from pupil premium, which includes children who became entitled to free meals during recent lockdowns. As a result, schools are having to pay the additional costs of provision for disadvantaged children but without receiving any additional payments from government until 2022.
You can read Luke’s letter of concern sent to the Secretary of State for Education above.