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.
Ginger, pupil premium is a funding mechanism, it is not ring fenced and does not have to be spent directly on your child.
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?
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:
- non-academic outcomes, such as improving pupils’ mental health
- non-academic improvements, such as better attendance
activities that will also benefit non-eligible pupils "
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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