Pupil Premium FAQs

To see 'Guide to Effective Pupil Premium Reviews, Spring 2018'  in full click here

Who leads a pupil premium review?

The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) offers designation as a pupil premium reviewer to system leaders whose schools have a good track record with disadvantaged pupil outcomes. While the system leader will usually hold an initial discussion with the commissioning head teacher they will often deploy other members of their leadership team with relevant expertise, including middle leaders and SLEs, to carry out much of the review. A post-coded directory of designated reviewers is maintained by NCTL that all schools are welcome to consult. To help schools find reviewers easily the Teaching Schools Council with the DfE has established a review brokerage service for all regions in England. Two ‘Coordinator’ schools in each region are available to help any school looking for a review to engage an appropriate reviewer. You can find your local Coordinator school on the Teaching Schools Council website.

What happens during a review?

The review is designed to be a collaborative process. Once you have agreed with your reviewer on any specific priorities you will arrange for them to spend a day or so on-site, talking to the school’s leaders and staff. You will be asked to send them a completed self-evaluation before the visit to provide context and a starting point. They will discuss your own view of what is working well and what could work better, and will come to some conclusions about possible ways to boost pupil progress. They will work with you on a plan of action to refine the way you support disadvantaged pupils and use the pupil premium.

How long does a pupil premium review take?

A pupil premium review will usually take three or four days for a reviewer, and two or three days in total for the school. Both parties spend up to a day preparing, and the visit usually takes a day. The analysis, discussion and action plan may be dealt with through a second visit day, or by email and phone. Schools have told us that the most successful reviews normally include a visit several months later to see how elements of the action plan are performing.

Who pays for the external review and how much will it cost?

Commissioning schools or trusts pay for their pupil premium review. The cost is agreed between the reviewer and the commissioning school/trust, and should reflect the amount of time involved in the review. There is no set cost and the DfE and NCTL have no set day rates for system leaders, but as a guide day rates should reflect pay and expenses for a senior leader, including any costs incurred by their school to release them. A typical day rate for a system leader is currently between £400 and £500. There may be a cost for the brokerage service finding the reviewer. At the end of the review the school will have an improved strategy and plans to implement it.  Support beyond the initial review follow up is paid for separately; as a partnership between commissioning school and reviewing school can develop it may be possible to agree quid pro quos or other ways of sharing resources.

What about small schools with limited budgets?

Reviews of groups of schools can lead to the possibility of ongoing peer support networks. Heads of small schools who are looking to commission a review might speak to other local heads to see if a joint review could work for them.

Reviewing pupil premium across a multi-academy trust or federation

A review of pupil premium across all the schools in a multi academy trust or federation would be managed differently from a review of a single school. The starting point would be to use this guidance to carry out self-reviews across the MAT/federation; this could be followed by input from an experienced external reviewer.

What role do local governing boards play in pupil premium reviews?

School governing boards and the board of trustees of multi-academy trusts have a crucial role to play in providing constructive challenge to a school’s pupil premium strategy, as set out in their three core functions.  Sometimes a school is asked to commission an external review of governance  alongside a pupil premium review; this is often carried out by a National Leader of Governance.  These reviews should be commissioned from separate specialist reviewers, though you will wish to ensure collaborative working between the reviewers. System leaders undertaking these different reviews should discuss with each other and the school how they will provide consistent advice and support. For further guidance on governance click here