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Last reviewed on 6 November 2020
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Understand how Ofsted will inspect your school's use of pupil premium. Doing so won't just to prepare you for inspection, but also inform your strategic plans as well as how you monitor and challenge the effectiveness of your pupil premium spending.

Understand your role in the inspection of pupil premium spending

Monitoring the use of pupil premium funds is part of the governing board's core function to oversee the financial performance of the school and make sure that its money is well spent. 

Though you aren't expected to direct exactly how pupil premium funding is spent, inspectors will look at how effectively you've challenged the impact of that spending to drive up attainment for disadvantaged pupils.

No graded judgement for pupil premium spending, but it affects the 'leadership and management' judgement

There's no separate graded judgement for pupil premium spending, but Ofsted will look for evidence that the way your school uses its funding is based on good evidence. 

You'll find this on page 64 of the school inspection handbook.

Know what inspectors are looking for

Your pupil premium statement

By the date of inspection, Ofsted will have already reviewed your school's pupil premium statement, which you're required to have required to have published to your website. The statement should explain:

1. How you've spent the pupil premium, your rationale for this spending and its intended impact 

In guidance on how to spend the pupil premium effectively, the  Department for Education (DfE) and Education Skills and Funding Agency say that schools are 'best placed' to decide how to spend pupil premium funding.

That said, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has published several evidence-based resources on the best ways to raise attainment for those pupils who qualify for funding and 'strongly encourages' school leaders to consider this evidence in deciding what will have the greatest impact for pupils.

While you don't have to use the suggestions made in these resources, they provide:

  • A framework for what Ofsted will look for in evidence-based spending
  • The means to challenge how your school's leaders choose to spend the pupil premium by suggesting evidence-based alternatives

2. The learning and progress of disadvantaged pupils

Inspectors will have also reviewed your school's national performance data, to assess the performance of disadvantaged pupils at your school when compared with disadvantaged pupils' performance at state-funded schools at the local authority and national level.

But this rarely tells the whole picture, so be sure your school's pupil premium statement supports the effectiveness of its approach to pupil premium spending by making more accurate comparisons to schools:

  • Of similar size
  • With similar cohorts
  • Facing similar challenges

Using tools like:

Know how inspectors will gather evidence

From the school

School leaders aren't expected to make comparisons between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged pupils within the school or provide evidence on individual pupils. They won't need to produce:

  • Any specific documents related to pupil premium besides the pupil premium statement 
  • Any school-generated data on the pupil premium, including information related to spending on individual students or to within-class or within-school gaps

Along with national performance data and your pupil premium statement, inspectors will take evidence related to pupil premium in the same way they make other judgments:

  • Observations of teaching, classrooms, break-times and training activities
  • Holding discussions with pupils, teachers and support staff
  • Conducting work scrutinies

From the board

Inspectors will be looking for evidence of leadership, strategy and challenge. They may ask to:

In discussions they may ask you:

  • How much funding the school receives
  • What the finding is spent on and what evidence you used to determine its effectiveness
  • What impact the funding is having on pupils
  • What your plans are for pupil premium over the next 3 years

We have more examples of questions Ofsted might ask governors.

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