Report Overview

This survey of 1,528 teachers, conducted by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) for the Trust as part of their Teacher Voice Omnibus Survey, examines how schools across England are using their pupil premium funding.


A third of heads say their pupil premium funding is being used to plug gaps in their school’s budget.


Vast majority of senior leaders consider research evidence to inform spending.


The percentage of secondary heads who say tuition is their priority for spending this year.

Key Findings
  • 69% of school leaders overall use the Sutton Trust/EEF Toolkit to make decisions, up from 65% in 2020 and 39% in 2012. Using research evidence in general to inform decision making is also at a high over the last decade, at 79% of school leaders, up from 74% in 2020 and 52% in 2012.
  • 17% of secondary heads report that one-to-one and small group tuition is their priority for pupil premium spending this school year, the option most likely to be selected. This is up from 10% in 2020 when it was the fourth most popular choice, indicating the substantial impact of the NTP.
  • 8% of secondary heads cite that offsetting budget cuts elsewhere, or paying for extra Covid-related running costs, are the priority for pupil premium funding.
  • 28% of secondary heads, and 35% of primary heads report that pupil premium funding is being used to plug budget gaps elsewhere. This is up from 27% and 22% respectively pre-pandemic in 2019.
  • 33% of secondary heads and 47% of primary heads report cutting teaching assistants for financial reasons this year. 33% also report cutting teaching staff and support staff at secondary schools. This however is significantly lower than the 72% (support staff), 70% (teaching assistants) and 69% (teaching staff) reported at secondary schools in 2019.
  • The government should reverse the decision to change the date of pupil premium reporting to ensure that schools receive pupil premium funding for all eligible pupils.
  • There should be significant financial support for disadvantaged pupils prioritised in the education recovery plan.