Schools are continuing to receive additional funding through the pupil premium – which is expected to increase to more than £2.5 billion in 2021-22, as more children have become eligible for free school meals (FSM) – to help them support their disadvantaged pupils.
For mainstream and special educational needs schools, eligibility for the 2021-22 pupil premium funding is based on the October 2020 school census. In previous years, the January census has been used to determine pupil premium eligibility. Moving to the October census brings the administration of the pupil premium in line with the rest of schools’ core budgets (most notably the national funding formula, and local school funding formulae), which calculate schools’ budgets for the coming year on the basis of the October census. The move to the October census simplifies the school funding system, and provide both schools and the Department with greater certainty around future funding levels earlier in the year. More children became eligible for FSM during the pandemic and it is expected that the October 2021 school census will result in a increase in pupil premium payments reflecting the increase in those eligible.
Further details on the pupil premium can be viewed here.
Those eligible for FSM have continued to be supported throughout the coronavirus pandemic. During the recent period of school closures, eligible children continued to receive FSM either as food parcels, via vouchers for a local shop or supermarket, or via the Department for Education's national voucher scheme. As schools and colleges have now re-opened, eligible children can receive FSM in their educational settings. In cases where eligible children cannot attend school as they are self-isolating, have symptoms or a positive Covid-19 test, or are a close contact of someone who has coronavirus, schools should continue to provide FSM support.
Building on the Pupil Premium, a one-off £302 million Recovery Premium will also be given to state primary and secondary schools which they can use as they best see fit to support disadvantaged students. The average primary school will receive around £6,000 extra and the average secondary school will receive around £22,000 extra. Schools also continue to receive their full budgets.