Financial Advice and Support

Pupil Premium

Pupil Premium is a funding initiative introduced to ensure that students aged 11 to 16 from families with limited income receive additional funding to help their educational attainment. The funding is given to the school rather than the individual and is based on the number of children in receipt of Free School Meals now or in the past 6 years.

At Birchwood much of the funding will be channelled into targeted teaching and learning and innovative projects to increase student engagement in education, which could include music lessons, school trips and improved access to information technology

Although we are targeting the specific students for whom we have received funding, we are determined that these students will not be stigmatised or labelled because of the financial barriers to education that they face. For example, Birchwood uses a smart card system to pay for school lunches. Those students entitled to free school meals have their cards topped up automatically at the start of each school week, so there is no apparent difference between students entitled to free school meals and those who are not.

Free School Meals (available to all students 11-18) – how to apply

These are available for families getting one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (as long as you're not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and you don't get more than £16,190 a year)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Universal Credit

Claimants may also be eligible for help with music fees and travel costs.

16-19 Bursaries (available for students aged 16-19) – how to apply

The 16-19 Bursary Fund is available to 16- to 19-year-old students to help them continue in education, where they might otherwise struggle for financial reasons. It is made up of two parts – guaranteed bursaries of £1200 a year to the most vulnerable young people e.g. Looked After Children and a discretionary fund to be distributed to other disadvantaged groups. The bursaries are provided to help students with travel costs, meals (if not eligible for Free School Meals), trips, books and equipment.

Please note that the majority of the bursary fund is distributed within the first few weeks of the autumn term. There may be a small contingency available at other times in the year. The form is distributed with the Sixth Form Induction Pack and may also be downloaded here.

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Useful Documents


Need help with any of the above?

Please contact the relevant Head of Year.