Schools

‘Recovery premium’ rolled out for all special school and AP pupils

Catch-up cash will increase for mainstream secondaries, rising to £60k on average, but rates frozen for most primaries

Catch-up cash will increase for mainstream secondaries, rising to £60k on average, but rates frozen for most primaries

26 May 2022, 11:28

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The government has expanded its “recovery premium” funding to cover all pupils in special schools and alternative provision, not only the most disadvantaged.

The Department for Education published per-pupil cash rates for 2022-23 for the fund, saying it had doubled grants for deprived secondary pupils.

The pot is one of multiple “premium” and other one-off Covid-related grants in recent years.

Funding is allocated based on the number of pupils eligible for free school meals in the past six years, and the number of looked-after children. 

But next year it will also be widened to cover every pupil in special educational needs and disability units in mainstream schools, as well as special schools, pupil referral units, alternative provision and hospital schools.

Schools minister Robin Walker said increasing the recovery premium for secondaries this year would help young people “get back on track”. The extra funding was first announced last year.

Funding rates published today show disadvantaged or looked-after children in mainstream secondaries will now receive £276 a head, up from £145 last year. 

Secondary special schools and mainstream SEND units will receive £552 a head, versus £290 last year for disadvantaged and looked-after pupils and nothing for the rest.

But the overall funding floor of £2,000 per primary school and £6,000 per secondary has been frozen, despite soaring inflation.

Funding remains flat for eligible pupils at mainstream primaries at £145 a head. It remains flat at £290 a head for special primaries and mainstream SEND units, though they will benefit from eligibility being widened to cover all pupils.

The DfE said the average secondary would receive more than £60,000, and the average primary almost £7,000.

Like the pupil premium, schools are also able to spend funding on a “wider cohort of pupils than those eligible”, with freedom to direct spending “where they think the need is greatest” as long as it is “evidence-based”.

Spending should include activities which improve the quality of teaching, provide targeted academic support, and address non-academic barriers to success.

But they are not allowed to spend it on covering National Tutoring Programme costs, whereas last year it was suggested they do so.

Note: This piece has been updated after the government admitted to a ‘minor error’ two weeks after releasing funding rates. It previously said mainstream secondary school pupils would double to £290 per pupil, and their SEND units and special primary schools and AP settings would see funding cut to £276.

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