The pupil premium is a government initiative, introduced in April 2011, which targets extra funding for disadvantaged children who are:
- Eligible for free school meals (FSM).
- From families with parents in the Armed Forces (the service child premium).
It is paid in respect of pupils in mainstream state funded schools aged 5–16. It is also paid to maintained special schools, PRUs, general hospital schools and alternative provision schools. It is not paid to nursery schools. The pupil premium is intended to close the progress and attainment gap between disadvantaged FSM children and their peers. In the case of the service child premium, the money is more to provide the support they need to protect their emotional and social well-being, usually in the form of additional pastoral care.
From April 2012, eligibility for pupil premium was extended to include:
- All pupils who have been eligible for free school meals at any point in the past six years (Ever 6 FSM pupils).
- All pupils who are eligible for the service child premium in either 2011/12 or 2012/13 but were not recorded as service children on the January 2013 school census (Ever 3 service children).
- Pupils whose family is in receipt of a pension under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme or the War Pensions Scheme.