On Monday the Government confirmed details of its Pupil Premium, originally announced back in July.
The level of the pupil premium will be £430 per pupil and will be the same for every deprived pupil, no matter where they live. The total funding available for the pupil premium will be £625m in 2011-12, rising each year until 2014-15 when it will be worth £2.5bn.
In 2011-12, the pupil premium will be allocated to those pupils eligible for Free School Meals, and from 2012-13 it will be extended the reach of the premium to those who have previously been on free school meals too.
Looked-after children will also receive a premium of £430, which will rise in line with the premium for deprived pupils.
Children with autism will benefit from this measure as they are more likely to be eligible for free school meals (although interestingly less likely to be eligible than those with other Special Educational Needs). 18% of children with autism as their primary need, who are on school action plus and 22% of children with autism who have a statement are eligible for free school meals compared to 14.2% of children with no Special Educational Need.
Both mainstream schools and (in the case of local authority maintained special schools) local authorities will have discretion as to how they respectively spend and distribute the funding, in line with the current localism agenda.