Department for Education
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Schools best at helping disadvantaged pupils to share £4 million prize fund

The government announces the 2015 Pupil Premium Awards for schools that do the most to help disadvantaged pupils. 

Schools across England that do the most to help disadvantaged pupils improve their results stand to win a share of £4 million, thanks to the 2015 Pupil Premium Awards announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Schools Minister David Laws yesterday (1 May 2014).

Thousands of pupils in up to 500 schools across England could benefit from the awards, which encourage schools to find innovative and effective ways of using pupil premium funding - extra money given to schools for every disadvantaged pupil they teach, worth a total government commitment of £6.25 billion by 2015.

In the third year of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Pupil Premium Awards, prizes for schools that best improve the performance of their disadvantaged pupils will include:

  • £250,000 for the top secondary school
  • £100,000 for the top primary and special schools
  • up to 20 regional rewards of £100,000 for secondary schools and £50,000 for primary and special schools
  • up to 18 runner-up prizes of up to £50,000
  • hundreds of qualifier awards of up to £5,000

The awards will bring together schools from across England to a ceremony in London next year to celebrate the hard work of teachers, pupils and governors.

Schools can use the money to fund extra teacher support for pupils who need it most or send their disadvantaged pupils on educational visits that benefit their studies.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

Too often a child’s destiny can be determined by where they were born or how much their parents earn. The pupil premium helps schools turn this around with vital funding - it’s social mobility in action. It helps disadvantaged children get the support, education and skills they need to get on in life and succeed.

Schools across the country are showing how innovative methods can not only help improve the opportunities for individual children, but helps whole classes progress too, and so I’m pleased to announce the rewards up for grabs in next year’s Pupil Premium Awards are even greater for both schools and the children whose lives they help transform.

Schools Minister David Laws said:

The pupil premium is transforming the way we educate our disadvantaged children. Now the enhanced Pupil Premium Awards will reward the schools leading the way in bridging the gap between background and achievement.

Previous awards have been a tremendous success and we are making the 2015 scheme bigger and better. By next year’s awards we will have invested a total of £6.25 billion through the pupil premium over 4 years, highlighting our commitment to helping disadvantaged pupils do well in school.

Up to 8 additional prizes of £25,000 each will be awarded to eligible schools with the highest proportions of free school meal eligible pupils that:

  • achieve the top grade (level 6) in reading and mathematics tests at 11 years old
  • pass A level physics having participated in the Cambridge Rutherford Schools Physics Project
  • achieve the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), a combination of qualifications including English, mathematics, history or geography, the sciences and a language
  • pass A level further mathematics
  • go on to study at Oxford or Cambridge universities
  • go on to study at Russell Group universities, an association of 24 leading universities

The announcement also confirms the 2016 Pupil Premium Awards will offer similar prizes.

Since the introduction of the pupil premium in 2011, attainment in reading and maths has risen for 11-year-olds eligible for free school meals by more than 7 percentage points, and the attainment between these pupils and their peers has narrowed by 3 percentage points.

Attainment is also rising for 16-year-olds eligible for free school meals - the proportion achieving at least 5 A* to C grade GCSEs, including English and maths, is up by more than 3 percentage points since 2011, while the attainment gap between these pupils and their peers has narrowed by more than 1 percentage point.

For the 2014 to 2015 financial year the pupil premium budget is £2.5 billion, increased from £1.875 billion in 2013 to 14. This now equates to £1,300 per disadvantaged primary pupil and £935 per disadvantaged secondary pupil.

Pupil Premium Champion John Dunford said:

Visiting all parts of the country in my role as National Pupil Premium Champion, it is clear to me that many schools are doing excellent work in closing the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and others and feel strongly that this is a central aim for their schools.

These awards will both recognise the best of this work and incentivise schools to do even better in maximising the progress of disadvantaged young people.

Kevan Collins, Chief Executive Officer of Education Endowment Foundation, said:

The Pupil Premium Awards provide a great opportunity to showcase outstanding practice and demonstrate how schools are making great use of additional resources to support our most disadvantaged children.

Lynne Gavin, Headteacher of Pakeman Primary School in Islington, named Primary School of the Year at 2013’s awards, said:

Winning this award has been absolutely fantastic for us at Pakeman. It reflects and recognises the hard work and dedication of our amazing and dedicated staff who are determined to provide our children with the best possible education to improve their life chances.

Simon Birch, Deputy Headteacher of Longford Park School in Manchester, named Special School of the Year at 2013’s awards, said:

Longford Park School has strived to both underpin and individualise its provision through the award. The school has been delighted by recognition of the award, but more so by the social and educational progress evidenced in the pupils who have benefited through this additional funding.

Notes to editors

  1. Read more about the 2015 Pupil Premium Awards, including how to win.
  2. Schools are held accountable for how they spend their pupil premium funding in 4 ways:
    • through the attainment and progress of their eligible pupils
    • through the comparison between the gap between their eligible and non-eligible pupils and the national gap in performance of these groups
    • through requiring schools to publish details online of how they spend their funding and its effects each year
    • through Ofsted reports
  3. Eligible schools will be automatically entered for the qualifier awards. The best performing schools will at least receive £1,000 for primary schools and £5,000 for secondaries. These schools will be announced and encouraged to apply for the regional and national awards.
  4. To go on to win regional and national prizes, schools must show how they have improved the performance of their disadvantaged pupils and have used their pupil premium funding in innovative ways. Judges will also consider evidence of schools working in partnership with others to improve the performance of disadvantaged pupils.
  5. Schools without assessment data, such as special and infant schools, can apply for the regional and national awards providing their own evidence.


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