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Leading up to the 2010 general election, both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats campaigned on the idea of a disadvantaged pupil premium (hereafter, a pupil premium) in the school funding system in England. A commitment to introduce a pupil premium was then included in the coalition's programme for government.

The main aim of the pupil premium is to narrow the achievement gap between children coming from rich and poor families. To achieve this, it would provide additional money to schools for each pupil from a disadvantaged background, however defined, with the intention of targeting resources more heavily towards schools with a high proportion of disadvantaged pupils, and reducing any disincentive that schools might have to recruit such pupils.

In July 2010, the Department for Education launched a consultation on school funding arrangements in 2011-12, and their plans for a pupil premium from September 2011 onwards. This briefing note contains the response of IFS researchers to this consultation.