Department for Education written question – answered on 26th April 2021.

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Photo of Feryal Clark Feryal Clark Labour, Enfield North

What assessment he has made of the financial effect on (a) students and (b) schools of the Government's decision to base pupil premium allocations for 2021-22 on the October 2020 school census.

Photo of Neil Coyle Neil Coyle Labour, Bermondsey and Old Southwark

What estimate he has made of the cost to schools in the London Borough of Southwark of his Department’s decision to move the pupil premium eligibility date from January 2021 to October 2020.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

Pupil premium rates will be maintained in 2021-22. We expect to increase pupil premium funding nationally to over £2.5 billion, and a typical school can expect an increase in their pupil premium funding. Data is not yet available on the impact of using the October 2020 census to determine eligibility. Basing pupil premium funding for 2021-22 on October 2020 census data, instead of using the January census, brings the pupil premium in line with how the rest of the core schools’ budget is calculated and provides earlier clarity for schools on their allocations.

Pupil premium will continue to be based on “Ever6 FSM”, whereby all pupils eligible for free school meals (FSM) at the time of the October census, or at any point in the previous six years, will attract pupil premium funding. As a result, we expect a typical school to see an increase in pupil premium funding from 2020-21 to 2021-22 as more children have become eligible for FSM as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. We will confirm pupil premium allocations for the financial year 2021-22 in June 2021.

Alongside the pupil premium, we also intend to change the date for the FSM6 factor in the schools national funding formula (NFF). Without a change in dates, the FSM6 factor in the 2022-23 NFF would be based on January 2020 census data. Using the October 2020 census data instead will shorten the FSM6 funding lag in the NFF by nine months, and increase the amount of funding allocated through the FSM6 factor in 2022-23, as FSM eligibility increased significantly between January and October last year.

In addition to pupil premium funding, on 24 February 2021 the Government also announced a further £700 million package on top of the £1 billion COVID-19 catch-up already provided. This package includes £302 million for a one-off recovery premium which will be allocated to schools based on the same methodology as the pupil premium. In this way, schools with more disadvantaged pupils will receive larger amounts. The recovery premium also includes a “floor” to ensure that no primary school will receive less than £2000 and no secondary school less than £6000.

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