||<p>Raising the attainment of disadvantaged pupils is a top priority for this Government.
That is why we have invested in the pupil premium for schools, which has risen from
£625 million in 2011-12 to £2.5 billion in 2014-15, giving schools the additional
resources they need to raise disadvantaged pupils' attainment, and give them a better
start in life.</p><p> </p><p>We have extended eligibility for funding over the last
three years, as well as raising the per-pupil funding rate. When the pupil premium
was introduced in April 2011, schools received £488 for each pupil who was registered
for free school meals or looked after by the local authority for six months or more.
From April 2014, the funding will be £1,300 per primary aged pupil, £935 per secondary
aged pupil and £1,900 for each pupil who is looked after for one day or more; or who
left care through adoption or a Special Guardianship Order on or after 30 December
2005, or via a Residence Order.</p><p> </p><p>Headteachers are held accountable for
the impact of this additional funding in three different ways. Firstly, the performance
tables set out the attainment and progress of disadvantaged pupils and the gap between
them and their peers. Secondly, Ofsted inspects the achievement of all pupils in a
school. Where disadvantaged pupils are making insufficient progress, inspectors are
likely to grade a school as requiring improvement and will recommend that the school
undertakes a pupil premium review. Thirdly, schools are required to publish online
how much pupil premium funding they receive, how they have used this funding and an
evaluation of the impact that it has had.</p><p> </p><p>Our EBacc is driving up the
number of pupils leaving school with the subjects most prized by employers and universities.
Already, our introduction of the EBacc has seen the number of children studying at
least 5 of the essential subjects rise.</p><p> </p><p>The free schools programme is
another powerful way to ensure greater opportunity for more disadvantaged children.
174 free schools are open, 45% of which were set up in the 30% most deprived areas
of the country; communities often poorly served for generations.</p><p> </p><p>Some
of our most disadvantaged schools are seeing the improvements brought about by successful
academy sponsors. 26.3% of pupils in secondary sponsored academies are eligible for
free school meals, well above the national average for secondary schools of 15.1%,
yet results in sponsored academies continue to improve faster than in local authority