Administration and finance

We explain the key administration and finance terms.

Pupil premium 

Pupil premium is additional funding from the government to support disadvantaged pupils in schools in England. It’s paid to schools four times a year based on the number of eligible pupils on their register. The money isn’t given to children, parents or families directly.

It’s up to school leaders to decide how to spend the pupil premium and they can use it wherever they feel the need is greatest, from funding additional teaching staff to supplying textbooks and other learning materials. For more details, see Ofsted’s Pupil Premium report.

PE Premium 

PE premium is additional funding aimed at increasing the health and fitness of pupils from an early age.

It’s paid by the government directly to primary schools in England and must be used to improve the quality of PE, physical activity and sport they offer.

Free School Meals 

In England, once you’ve had a place secured, your child may be able to get free school meals if you get any of the following:

● Income Support

● Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

● Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

● Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

● The guaranteed element of Pension Credit

● Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)

● Working Tax Credit run-on — paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

● Universal Credit — if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

Children who get paid these benefits directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, can also get free school meals.

Your child may also get free school meals if you get any of these benefits and your child is both:

● Younger than the compulsory age for starting school

● In full-time education

If your child is eligible for free school meals, they’ll remain eligible until they finish the phase of schooling (primary or secondary) they’re in on 31 March 2023.


Free school transport is available to eligible families across the regions for children in primary and secondary level. The criteria and funding offer differs depending where you live, so do refer to the guidance for your country below.

In England

Children of compulsory school age qualify for free school transport if they go to their nearest suitable school and any of the following apply:

  • the school is more than 2 miles away and the child is under 8
  • the school is more than 3 miles away and the child is 8 or over
  • there’s no safe walking route between their home and school
  • they cannot walk there because of their special educational needs or disabilities or a mobility problem

If your child does not qualify for free school transport for these reasons, they may still qualify if you have a low family income. Find out more about applying for free school transport from your local council.

If your child is over 16 and still in education, you will need to enquire directly to your local council.

In Wales

Children at primary school get free home to school transport if they live 2 miles or more from the nearest suitable school and children at secondary school get free transport if they live 3 miles or more from the nearest suitable school. This information provides further details.

In Northern Ireland 

Parents can apply online for help with home to school transport from the Education Authority. Your child will be entitled to support if there is no suitable school within the legal walking distance or qualifying distance of your home (primary or secondary), or if they have been refused a place in all suitable schools within legal walking distance/​qualifying distance.

After parents have filled in the online application, they will receive an assessment that shows if their child/​children are able to get help with home to school transport. 

To apply, go to: Apply for school transport. If you need help with the online application, you can contact the EA’s School Transport Helpdesk.

School uniform 

Your local authority may be able to provide help with the cost of school uniform and PE kit. If not then contact your school or the school’s PTA directly as many have pre-loved uniform available for sale at a greatly reduced cost. 

In Wales, pupils eligible for FSM can apply for a Pupil Development Grant each year, which provides £125 (or £200 to those entering year 7) towards uniform and other costs. Contact your Local Authority to apply. 

In Northern Ireland, a uniform grant is available to those eligible for Free School Meals (FSM).