Pupil premium rates to rise for first time in 5 years

The amount of money schools receive to support their poorest pupils is to increase for the first time in five years.

The Department for Education has announced that the pupil premium rate will increase from April by £25 for primary pupils (from £1,320 to £1,345) and £20 for secondary pupils (from £935 to £955).

Pupil premium is paid for all pupils who claim free school meals, or who have claimed free meals in the last six years.

The rises represent an increase of around 1.8 per cent, in line with inflation.

However, there is no increase to address real-terms cuts to the rate in recent years. The last time the rates rose was 2015-16, but the cost of supporting pupils has risen in that time.

This year, pupil premium payments for around 2 million eligible pupils cost the government £2.41 billion, so an inflation-related rise is likely to cost between £40 and £50 million a year.

It is understood the funding for the increase will come from the already-announced £2.6 billion increase in the school budget for 2020-21.

The pupil premium plus, which is paid for every pupil who has left local authority care through adoption, a special guardianship order or child arrangements order, will also rise by £45 (£2,300 to £2,345 per pupil).

And the service premium, for every pupil with a parent serving in the forces or who is retired on a Ministry of Defence pension will rise from £300 to £310.

More to follow.