Schools forced to use pupil premium to meet funding cuts

Additional funding paid to schools with disadvantaged pupils is increasingly being used to cover funding cuts elsewhere, a new survey has found.

The Sutton Trust survey showed that although the number of teachers saying their main priority for their pupil premium funding is offsetting budget cuts remains a minority, it has tripled in the past year, going from 2% to 6%.

Furthermore, 20% of the 1,607 teachers surveyed said they did not know what their main priority for pupil premium funding was.

Sir Peter Lampl, chair of the Sutton Trust, said: “It is worrying that a growing number of schools feel they have to use funding for disadvantaged pupils to offset budget cuts.

“The pupil premium is a key lever for raising the attainment of disadvantaged pupils and it’s vital that it continues to be focused on their education.”

However, the Sutton Trust report found that teachers had a positive attitude to the goals of the premium, with 98% of head teachers and 79% of classroom teachers saying it had allowed them to target resources towards their poorest pupils.

The most common priority for spending was early intervention schemes, with 28% of teachers saying this was their top priority.

Other suggestions included one-to-one tuition (13%) and more teaching assistants (10%).

The pupil premium was introduced in 2011 to provide schools with a fixed sum for every pupil who has received free school meals in the past six years or been in care.

The sum is currently at £1,320 for primary pupils and £935 for secondary pupils, at a total cost of £2.5bn, or over 6% of the £38.8bn schools budget.

Last year, the Public Accounts Committee warned that the funding is being applied inconsistently and this is likely to get worse following the introduction of the Universal Credit benefits scheme.

The government was recently forced to halt plans to turn all schools into academies after opposition from councils, although schools in the lowest-performing local authorities may still be forced to become academies under the new Education for All Bill.

(Image c. Creatas)

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here.


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest news

View all News


Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >


Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

Cleaner, greener, safer media: Increased ROI, decreased carbon

23/06/2020Cleaner, greener, safer media: Increased ROI, decreased carbon

Evolution is crucial in any business and Public Sector Executive is no different. Long before Covid-19 even became a thought in the back of our minds, the team at PS... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

public sector events

events calendar


August 2020

mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 1 2 3 4 5 6

featured articles

View all News