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Pupil Premium

Ginger October 27, 2019 09:13

Following on from an earlier post about PP funding, has anyone successfully found out how the money is spent directly on your child? I have asked several times but there is no evidence that the money is being spent on her. Also, if you have successfully challenged the support offered in school I'd be grateful to hear your story. My LO was adopted in Year 1 so a slightly older adoption.

Serrakunda27 October 27, 2019 10:24

Ginger, pupil premium is a funding mechanism, it is not ring fenced and does not have to be spent directly on your child.

Mary October 29, 2019 15:14

I agree with Serrakunda27, unfortunately, there is no way you can find out how this money is spent. The School should be able to show ofsted but that is not always the case either. Unfortunately, although it should be spent on supporting our kids and educating the teaching staff, as it is not ringfenced and there is no transparency this inevitability results in no accountability for schools who just throw the money in their general school budget or PP pot.

Wonderful, isn't it?

chestnuttree October 29, 2019 22:41

LA maintained schools must publish a PP/PPP statement. Often schools have their strategy and statistics on spending it online, so you might want to check that in case you haven't yet. Although the money does not need to be spend directly on your child (as eg. in individual support), your child has to benefit. Otherwise there would be no point in your child getting extra funding.

Governmental guidance says "Although the main aim of the pupil premium is to raise attainment, you can spend your pupil premium on:

The school should be able to give you an idea on how your child benefited. The main aim is to raise attainment of adopted children. How did the school attempt to do that and did they succeed? If they spend on activities, how did your child benefit from those?

Guidance also says: "Accountability

  • You must be transparent about how you spend your pupil premium so: parents, guardians can understand your pupil premium strategy
  • governing bodies can see evidence-based practice so they can consider the rationale behind all pupil premium-related decisions"

So you could ask for an explanation of the strategy and the evidence.

BeckyAUK October 30, 2019 12:30

Hi Ginger,

I'd recommend you take a look at the statutory guidance for designated teachers for looked after and previously looked after children - it's online here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/683561/The_designated_teacher_for_looked-after_and_previously_looked-after_children.pdf

The PP+ section starts at P21 and these paragraphs will be of particular interest:

"The designated teacher should.....

• help raise previously looked-after children’s parents’ and guardians’ awareness of the PP+ and other support for previously looked-after children - this includes encouraging parents of eligible previously looked-after children to tell the school if their child is eligible to attract PP+ funding;

• play a key part in decisions on how the PP+ is used to support previously looked-after children; and

• encourage parents and guardians’ involvement in deciding how the PP+ is used to support their child and be the main contact for queries about its use."

It can be difficult to get a straight answer on how PP+ is being used. Although schools are required to publish information about their use of pupil premium as a whole, the subset of PP+ is usually so tiny that it barely gets a mention, especially where doing so would risk 'outing' a looked after or previously looked-after child.

However, the new extension of the designated teacher role to include previously looked after children as well as looked after children, ought to improve things. I'd suggest finding out who the DT is, and then asking for a meeting. Go armed with this section of the stat guidance, and ask them how they propose to encourage your involvement in deciding how the PP+ is used to support your child. As other commenters have said, PP+ is not ring-fenced to individual children, but the stat guidance for DTs and other DfE documents make it clear that it is distinct from general pupil premium (sometimes called ever-6 pupil premium) and should be used primarily to benefit the cohort of looked after and previously looked after students.

Bluemetro October 30, 2019 14:12

As others have said, in my experience the pupil premium statements tend to cover all PP. In DS previous school we were not consulted. The only specific thing they spent money on for him that we were told about, was something that was a challenge and instead of supporting him caused more anxiety.

However in his current school we have been made aware of things they have specifically spent PPP on.

Sparkle Motion November 6, 2019 14:27

Our child’s school doesn’t distinguish between pupil premium/ pupil premium plus. I’ve had several meetings re how my child benefits from the funding. I’m told it’s used to cover the cost of a TA who works with a small group of struggling children, one of which is our son.

I pointed out last year that the website didn’t cover pupil premium plus just focused on the needs of children from low income families. The website still hasn’t changed and they offered that our son could go on a trip for free due to the PP funding. I declined saying cost wasn’t a barrier as I wanted the funding used on actual barriers for him.

I keep meaning to raise the whole issue of PP+ and accountability with our MP. When looking at the school’s PP policy I saw that they allocate funding from that pot for Year 2 SATS booster sessions before and after school. Our son was excluded, presumably because even with support he wouldn’t have passed. When I asked about the booster sessions I was told other children’s support could not be discussed with me. If I’ve assumed correctly I don’t think any of the children in Year 2 who attract PP/PP+ were included. How can it be ethical for a school to use the funding to boost their own performance in National tests?

I haven’t decided whether to have another go at asking the school to address PP+ accountability on the website! I might just say “thank you very much” when they offer to pay for the next residential trip and use the money we save on something to help our son instead!

BeckyAUK November 7, 2019 10:22

I'm afraid the DfE delivered a bit of a blow to adoptive families with their new PP guidance published a few days ago - it's here if you want to look at it: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pupil-premium-effective-use-and-accountability

Down at the bottom, it says that schools do not need to consult adoptive parents on PP+ spend. Leaving aside that PP+ is available for SGO and CAO children too, and their carers and guardians don't even merit a mention, this is a very unhelpful message to send out to schools, especially since the statutory guidance for Designated Teachers is very clear that part of their role is to encourage parental involvement.

Adoption UK will be responding formally to this, although with Parliament now dissolved our options are limited.

danat December 19, 2019 22:38

Hi Ginger. Sorry for the late response, I have only just seen your post. You may have been referring to my post about pupil premium in July this year when I asked the forum if anyone had external/ after school activities funded by the use of the pupil premium plus. I have 2 girls - year 2 and reception. I had a positive meeting in July with the head of the school with regards to recognising the dept of educations documentation on pupil premium plus and the role of the designated teacher. Whilst there are plenty of grey areas in both documents it is stated that whilst the money is not ringfenced for your child it should benefit that cohort of children and that it is good practice to involve the parents. So pp+ should not be put in the same pot as pupil premium. Our schools published spending for pp and pp+ is all put together as they don’t want the very small number of lac and post lac children to be known. I can understand this.

I am still chasing answers on how it is spent to benefit my daughters but this info is not forthcoming. I have been asking for 2 years!

So in July I thought I would put together my children’s specific needs in writing and give them to the school. That way the school would have to respond with their thoughts and have the opportunity to challenge my suggestions for support. I suggested one daughter attend an external drama course for 1 year to help with confidence etc. They agreed to use a small proportion of the funding for this. I am still waiting for the schools input as to how they can support her with her social and emotional needs. They have agreed to do a mini PEP for her so there is a review mechanism in place for the spending and in addition to our parents evenings where the is only time to discuss her academic achievements. My other daughter is fine at present.

I have also had a number of discussions with our Virtual school officer who has been very helpful. Have you had any dealings with yours?

I would also think that if you do get answers from the school about the spending of pp+ the school will claim a good proportion of the money is spent on staff training in attachment etc. I know when I had a meeting with our head he said that they were going to send lunchtime staff on training this year.

I would challenge any support you are not happy with or the lack of support but be clear with what you are asking for and why as the school are meant to be held account for the spending of the pp+.

Good luck!

danat December 19, 2019 22:45

Hi sparkle moon.

Sort to hear that Your experiences sound similar to mine. It feels like a constant battle.

The fact they are offering to pay for trips sounds like they do not understand the difference between the pp and the pp+ and it does make you feel like taking the trip money to use on something of your choice.

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