How school leaders can manage their pupil premium funding, including reporting procedures and online statements.

As part of the pupil premium allocations and conditions of grant for 2021 to 2022, schools are now required to:

  • demonstrate, from the next academic year, how their spending decisions are informed by research evidence (condition 7)
  • use the strategy statement templates to publish their pupil premium strategy (condition 8)

We will publish the templates that you must use to publish your statement for the 2021 to 2022 academic year in September 2021.

You are not required to publish your statement before the end of December 2021. This will enable you to take into account the needs of your new intake.


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 there’s 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 Fund’s (EEF): pupil premium guide

Read EEF’s 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 you’ll 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 EEF’s 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 2021 to 2022.


You’ll 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 October census (apart from alternative provision settings – for these settings, we use 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

We’ll reduce 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.

We’ll 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 you’ve 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 school’s audit and accounting procedures about pupil premium spending.

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

Online statements

Who must publish an online statement

Local authority-maintained schools must publish a pupil premium statement on their school’s 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, it’s important that parents and governors can understand how you’re 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 you’re using the pupil premium
  • not used by DfE to allocate future funding
  • only used by Ofsted to help them prepare for their visit and not for any other purpose


You are required to publish your online statement using the Pupil premium: strategy statement templates. These are designed to ensure your statement meets the requirements of the conditions of grant. We will publish the templates that you must use to publish your statement for the 2021 to 2022 academic year in September 2021.

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

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 you’re looking to overcome
  • the intended impact
  • what effect last year’s pupil premium spending had within your school

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

Whole-school and non-academic strategies

While it’s often difficult to measure non-quantitative outcomes, for example, improved resilience, you should still include these things in your online statement.

You may find it useful to describe:

  • why you’re targeting non-academic areas
  • what outcomes you expect to see
  • any evidence you have that shows you’re making progress

3-year strategy

You do not have to use this 3-year approach if you do not want to.

We recommend that you:

  • take a longer-term approach to planning how to use the grant (for example, over 3 year period)
  • update your online statement at least once a year, starting from late in the autumn term

You may find using the 3-year strategy approach makes it easier to plan your:

  • spending
  • recruitment
  • teaching practice
  • staff development

‘Key to success’ data download

Do not use Key to success for planning or delivering the pupil premium strategy.

Key to Success is a retrospective list of eligible pupils based on the October census, apart from alternative provision settings. For alternative provision settings we use the January census.

We recommend you:

  • base your pupil premium strategy on your pupils’ needs at the time
  • plan a 3 year strategy
  • review your strategy regularly or at least annually

Service pupil premium (SPP)

SPP is an extra £300 for pupils from families who are serving or who have served in the armed forces.

SPP is not connected to disadvantage. It’s paid with the pupil premium to make it easier for schools.

Neither DfE nor Ofsted will assess how you use SPP.

More information is available on the Service pupil premium page.

Pupil premium plus

Your designated teacher for looked-after children must work with the local authorities who hold the pupil premium plus for your pupils who are in their care.

The grant should be used without delay for the benefit of the looked-after child’s educational needs as described in their personal education plan.

Adoptive parents and guardians of children who left care through a special guardianship order or child arrangements order

Your designated teacher should:

  • encourage parents and guardians to be involved in deciding how pupil premium plus is used to support their child
  • be the main contact for queries about its use

Allocation changes from the 2021 to 2022 financial year

Mainstream and special schools

Funding will be based on October 2020 census data instead of using the January census as was the case in previous years.

Alternative provision, pupil referral units and hospital schools

There will be no change to the allocations process.

About the census change

This change brings pupil premium allocations in line with how the rest of the core schools’ budget is calculated.

The change also provides earlier clarity for schools on their allocations. In this transitional year, pupil premium allocations have been confirmed within the usual timeline in June 2021. From 2022, the annual pupil premium allocations for mainstream and special schools will be published in March.

There’s further guidance on Pupil premium: allocations and conditions of grant 2021 to 2022.

Financial impact of the pupil premium census change

Total pupil premium funding is increasing to more than £2.5 billion in the 2021 to 2022 financial year. This means:

  • funding is up £60 million on the previous year
  • most schools across England will see an increase in funding
  • 87% of local authorities will see an increase in pupil premium funding

Pupil premium funding is in addition to the £3 billion to support education recovery. As part of this, £280 million will be allocated to schools through the recovery premium which, building on the pupil premium, will be targeted at schools most in need of supporting pupils with disadvantaged attainment. This additional support far outweighs the impact of moving the pupil premium census date from January to October.

This table shows the financial impact of moving to the October census on the annual pupil premium allocations for the 2021 to 2022 financial year. It compares the number of pupils that get the pupil premium in the 2021 to 2022 financial year with the number of pupils that would have attracted the pupil premium if the January census had been used.

Primary pupils Secondary pupils Total
Number of pupils 67,189 fewer recipients 4,973 additional recipients 62,216 fewer recipients
Financial impact £92,445,582 less funding £2,589,472 more funding £89,856,109 less funding

The overall impact is approximately £90 million. This does not mean that pupil premium funding is decreasing – total pupil premium funding is increasing compared to the previous year.

In addition to the pupil premium, pupils who are eligible for FSM, or have been at any point in the last 6 years (“FSM6”), also attract funding through the schools national funding formula (NFF). We are also moving to use the October census, not the January census in the NFF, which in this case, means moving from the January 2020 to the October 2020 census. This will increase the amount of funding allocated through the FSM6 factor in the 2022 to 2023 financial year, as FSM eligibility increased significantly between January and October last year.

Published 18 October 2019
Last updated 23 July 2021 + show all updates

  1. We have updated information on the templates that you must use to publish your statement for the 2021 to 2022 academic year.

  2. Added an updated version of ‘Allocation changes from the 2021 to 2022 financial year’ which was previously published on another webpage.

  3. Updated with a link to ‘Pupil premium: allocations and conditions of grant 2021 to 2022’ and added information on the requirements of schools.

  4. Amended the ‘pupil premium plus’ section to make the designated teacher’s actions clearer.

  5. Amended wording for adoptive parents to match the wording in the designated teacher statutory guidance.

  6. First published.