The Pupil Learning Credits (PLC) pilot scheme ran for two academic years from September 2001. The scheme made extra funding available to around 260 secondary schools with high levels of known Free School Meals eligibility. Its objective was to provide additional educational opportunities to pupils from financially deprived backgrounds in order to enrich and add depth to their learning.

Another objective was to promote inclusion by breaking down barriers preventing disadvantaged pupils from taking part in activities their peers take for granted. Moreover, the policy aimed to provide them with the means (such as increased self-confidence and self-esteem and improved attitudes to learning) to improve their levels of attainment.

The PLC pilot scheme was particularly targeted at pupils in Key Stage 3 (aged 11 to 14, Years 7 to 9). Altogether 260 schools in disadvantaged areas of England were targeted for funding. They were given maximum flexibility in how to allocate the additional resources.


  • Executive summary
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Research findings
  • Summary and policy implications
  • References
  • Acknowledgements
  • Annexes