The pupil premium is allocated to schools for pupils who have claimed free school meals at any point in the past six years and those who are in care, or who left care through adoption or other routes. Those claiming free schools meals (FSM) form the majority and we want all parents whose children are entitled to apply for them.
To support this, the Department for Education provides an electronic Eligibility Checking System that allows local authorities promptly to check data held by the Department for Work and Pensions, the Home Office and HMRC in order to establish FSM eligibility. The Department has also provided a model registration form and accompanying guidance that schools can use as part of their enrolment process.
We want to make it as simple as possible for schools and local authorities to determine eligibility for FSM; the Department will continue to explore ways to make FSM eligibility checking as effective as possible.
Schools notify the Department of their FSM-eligible and adopted pupils through the annual school census; local authorities provide the department with information about children they are looking after through the annual local authority census known as SSDA903. The Department publishes guidance to support respondees for the school census here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-census-2016-to-2017-guide-for-schools-and-las and for the Children looked after return here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/children-looked-after-return.