Pupil premium

What is Pupil Premium Plus and why do Previously Looked-after Children receive this funding?

Pupil Premium Plus is funding provided by the Department of Education to raise the educational attainment and close the gap between Previously Looked-after children and their peers.

The DfE takes the view that many children from the groups described above will have “experienced grief and loss and will have had traumatic experiences in their early lives. 72% of those adopted in 2013-14 entered care due to abuse or neglect. Their needs do not change overnight, and they do not stop being vulnerable just because they are in a loving home. Their experiences in early life can have a lasting impact which can affect the child many years after adoption. We therefore believe that teachers and schools have a vital role to play in helping these children emotionally, socially and educationally by providing specific support, to raise their attainment and address their wider needs”.

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Schools can claim Post-LAC pupil premium plus for:

  • Children who are no-longer looked after by the local authority in England and Wales, because they are the subject of an Adoption, Special Guardianship or Child Arrangement Order.

Any eligible child attending school from the start of reception to the end of Year 11 (summer term) will receive PP+.

Please note this currently does not include:

  • Children who have returned home to parents after being in care by the Local authority.
  • Children who are electively home educated
  • Children who attend private or independent provision in which the place is not being funded by the Local Authority.
    -Children who are outside of the Statutory School Age e.g Post-16

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How much post-LAC pupil premium plus will a school receive and when is this paid?

Schools receive £2,345 for each Post- LAC child recorded on the January school census. This is paid in the following financial year. For example, eligible pupils recorded on the January 2020 school census will qualify for PP+ funding from April 2020 to March 2021 (i.e. 2020-21 financial year).

Schools can, however, use the £2,345 already sent in that financial year for another child to support more than one post-LAC child and do not have to wait until the next financial year to put in any additional support a child may need.

Once a parent or guardian has written to the school to declare their Child’s post-LAC status, they will not need to do this again unless the child moves school. For further information on how to inform the school of a post-LAC status, please refer to GOV.UK's template letter guidance.

It is important to give careful consideration as to how and to whom parents and guardians will provide the relevant documentary evidence in school.  The information is sensitive and confidential, and it helps if procedures are clear, efficient and timely.  The Virtual School will provide advice and support to schools and families in circumstances where parties are unsure how to proceed.

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Is there a post-LAC premium for children in the early years?

There is no specific Post-LAC PP for Early Years children.  However, children who have left are in England or Wales through an adoption, SGO or CAO are all eligible for Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP). The Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) is £302.10 (53p x 570 hours) per year and is for children aged from three years and one term accessing their free entitlement through the universal offer.

This form of additional funding is made available for early year’s settings to improve the education they provide for 3 and 4-year-olds who have previously come from disadvantaged backgrounds. For further information on EYPP please visit GOV.UK's Early Years Pupil Premium Guidance.

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Which types of schools receive post-LAC premium?

All mainstream schools and non-maintained special schools receive Post-LAC PP+. There are differences in the ways payments are made to free schools and academies who receive their PP payments from the Education Funding Agency (EFA). For maintained schools, funding is paid annually from the Local Authority (i.e. Surrey).

Post-LAC PP+ cannot currently be claimed for children who are home schooled unless this arrangement is being funded by the local authority.  Pupils who attend independent schools are only entitled to claim PP+ if the local authority is funding the tuition fees. There is no plans to change this at this time.

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What is the difference between LAC and post-LAC pupil premium?

Surrey’s Virtual School Head is responsible for managing arrangements for Looked After PP. This includes making decisions about the amount that is sent to schools, together with the frequency of payments. This is not the case for the post-LAC PP+, which is paid directly to schools.

It is schools, and not the Virtual School who are responsible for ensuring that the post-LAC premium is spent in accordance with the conditions of grant.  For further details, please refer to: Pupil Premium Funding Arrangements 2020 – 2021.

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Do schools have to spend the additional funding they receive on the individual child adopted from care?

Unlike LAC PP, the answer to this is No.

The DFE states: “The pupil premium is additional funding given to schools to improve the educational and personal outcomes for pupils who have been adopted from care, including (but not limited to) their attainment. It is not intended that the additional funding should be used to back-fill the general school budget nor is it the policy intention that the funding should be used to support other groups of pupils, such as (for example) those with special educational needs or who are low attaining.  The funding is not ring-fenced and is not for individual children – so the Department would not necessarily expect the school to spend £2,345 on every child adopted from care on roll at the school. This is partially because a child may have left the school and new pupils may have joined but also because a school is best placed to determine how the additional funding can be deployed to have the maximum impact. For example, a school may decide to train their staff in recognising and responding to attachment-related issues; or that a particular adopted child needs tailored support that is in excess of the £2,345 the school has received.”

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Who is accountable for the use of post-LAC PP+?

Ofsted inspections look closely at the progress and attainment of disadvantaged pupils and the gap between them and their peers. At the end of each academic year, there is a legal requirement for schools to publish information online about their PP funding allocation, how it has been used and the impact this funding has had on disadvantaged pupils.

The Virtual School does not currently have accountability for any post-LAC PP+. The school are not required to provide a breakdown of costs per pupil who attract PP+ as this funding is not seen as a personal budget per child.

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What role do parents and guardians have in the spending of Post-LAC PP+?

The DfE takes the view that: “The role of parents and guardians in their child’s education is crucial and we expect schools will want to engage with them about the education of the pupils on their roll, irrespective of whether they attract the pupil premium. However, we would hope that schools would want to take particular advantage of this relationship with regards to formerly looked after children as the school may have only become aware of the child’s status when they are told this by the child’s parent ahead of the School Census. They may be unfamiliar with the detail of any barriers to learning individual children may be facing as a result of their history. Schools should, of course, be mindful of the sensitivities that may exist around the child’s history and ways in which their experiences prior to leaving care are affecting the child currently.”  It is important to reiterate that Surrey Virtual School have no responsibility over how post-LAC PP+ is spent but parents are welcome to contact Surrey Virtual School if they wish to seek advice or further information.

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What happens if a child was previously looked after by a different Local Authority?

In these cases, Post-LAC funding will be sent to the child’s school by the originating local authority.  The same process happens in Surrey for any children who were originally looked after by Surrey LA but now reside out of County and are educated in a different LA.

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How should schools aim to use their post-LAC PP+?

There is a growing body of research and guidance to support schools. The DFE “encourages all schools to use robust evidence when making decisions about how to spend their Pupil Premium. Schools may contact their LA and national organisations such as BAAF and Adoption UK for support and guidance. The Sutton Trust-Education Endowment Foundation Teaching and Learning Toolkit is also a useful source of information schools can draw on. The characteristics of formerly looked after children do not disappear overnight.”  Schools may also find Virtual School Head, Virtual School Staff and the Designated Teacher at the school a valuable source of information”.

Pupil Premium Plus is an opportunity to address the learning needs of previously looked-after children through the provision of additional interventions and learning resources tailored to the individual need of the child. It is not intended to replace services, support or resources that the local authority, schools, early year’s providers, parents/carers or other agencies working with previously looked-after children already provide, or that is provided to all children in the area as a universal service or as part of their educational entitlement.

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Pupil Premium Plus should be used to improve outcomes for children in the following areas;

  • Acceleration of academic achievement and progress;
  • Wider achievement e.g. in an area in which the child is more able;
  • Improving school attendance;
  • Reducing internal and external exclusion;
  • Developing social, emotional and interpersonal skills where they are a barrier to learning and can be directly linked to under-performance;
  • Transition into the next key stage and/or a new learning provider.

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What happens to the post-LAC premium if a child moves school?

Schools are not obliged to pass post-LAC funding on to a new setting if a post-LAC child leaves the school.  Any decisions about passing funding on take place between the two schools and an agreement needs to be made between them if funding is to be shared.

The same rule applies to a dual-registered student who is on roll, for example, at a mainstream school, but receives education from an alternative provider such as a PRU.  The home centre – i.e. the initial school – is responsible to liaising with the alternative provider and sharing funding as agreed.

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What support is available in Surrey to help schools in meeting the needs of adopted children?

The Virtual School has established links with the Surrey Adoption Service and are working with them to help provide support for parents and carers of all school-age post-order children.  Anyone who has been affected by adoption from the care system (or from overseas) is entitled to an assessment of their support needs, and the service provides a range of services to adopted young people, their families and birth relatives of adopted children.

More information is available via the Surrey County Council Website or you can contact the service directly on 01932 794347 or email adoption@surreycc.gov.uk

As many adopted children’s needs will be the same as when they were in care, schools may find it useful to access information, services and signposting from Surrey Virtual School.

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Useful links and references

The information contained is based on the current Department for Education (DfE) Pupil Premium Conditions of Grant 2020 – 2021 along with a handful of other documents listed below: