A total of 140 secondary schools will receive at least a £5,000 cash boost after being announced as key stage 4 finalists in the 2015 Pupil Premium Awards.
Eligible schools are now invited to apply for the top prizes worth up to £250,000.
The Pupil Premium Awards recognise schools that are using their pupil premium in innovative and effective ways and provide evidence of effective strategies to improve the achievement of disadvantaged pupils and show sustained improvement in raising their attainment.
Secondary schools are invited to apply for the larger prize if their disadvantaged pupils’ attainment has either improved between 2011 and 2014, or has been consistently high. All schools invited to apply must have good value added measures for their disadvantaged pupils too. The deadline for applications is 18 February 2015.
Schools minister David Laws congratulated the schools and encouraged them all to share their stories. Mr Laws said: “The pupil premium is building a fairer society with opportunity for everyone.
“I would encourage all of the secondary schools which have received a prize to share their successful approach with other schools so they can learn from their experience.
“I hope all schools will continue to learn from this excellent practice and ensure they are using their pupil premium effectively, so that they too may be in the running for a prize in 2016.”
The pupil premium is extra funding schools receive for every disadvantaged pupil they teach and is worth £2.5 billion this year alone.
Final prizes will be awarded at a ceremony in March.