The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Alex Masters

The pupil premium toolkit: your 3 steps to success

It’s great news that pupil premium funding policy is set to continue, but school business managers still face a huge amount of pressure. Our experts are on hand to help.


If there’s one thing that’s bound to keep a school business manager up at night it’s the pupil premium. And little wonder: SBMs have to be sure they are investing the funding effectively to ‘close the gap' in terms of attainment for disadvantaged pupils.

On top of this, scrutiny of your school’s spending decisions, monitoring and evaluation, and pupil outcomes are set to remain a key part of government and Ofsted policy.

That’s a lot of pressure.

Fear not: we have sought the four corners of the educational sector, from Ofsted inspectors and government representatives to academics and experienced school business managers, to bring you all the most relevant and up-to-date information you need.

Our Pupil Premium Toolkit will give you practical advice that you can implement today, leaving you feeling confident and prepared for that Ofsted visit.


We were lucky to gain an exclusive interview with pupil premium champion, Sir John Dunford.

Sir John talked to us about:

  • how to invest the pupil premium when there is no ‘one size fits all’
  • what successful investment looks like
  • how to know you are spending it effectively
  • examples of how to use the funding creatively
  • the future for the pupil premium.

Here is a sneak preview of some of his advice:

Q. What are Ofsted really looking for?
A. When schools are making an impact on closing the gap, when they are raising the attainment of their pupil premium youngsters, Ofsted won’t be worried about how they are doing it. That is up to them. And if Ofsted is worried about that, challenge them.

Q. Is there such a thing as a ‘typical pupil premium child?’
A. No.  We have to look at the needs of every individual and put the right help and support in place for those individuals, whatever their background.

Watch the interview

Alun Rees is a pupil premium expert. It comes as little surprise that this webinar has been one of our most popular: he offers a range of advice and practical ideas that you can implement today.

Alun’s advice includes:

Watch the webinar

People are often afraid of the unknown and the new early years pupil premium funding has caused much consternation for this reason. Following our successful conference earlier this year, we asked three headteachers to share the main things they learned.

Key findings:

  • observe your children to establish a baseline
  • discuss with staff and parents/carers
  • remember that your relationship with parents is key
  • recognise the importance of children’s competencies
  • look at research to find the most effective strategies
  • review and evaluate consistently
  • use case studies to see how others use the pupil premium.

Watch the video

Find out

Download and use

One school has very kindly shared its template to show you how it allocated its pupil premium funding.

We also had the pleasure of chatting to early years expert Dr Julian Grenier who spoke to us about the pupil premium. We’ve put together an early years pupil premium decision chart to help you make the best decisions for your school’s funding.

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