PLAC Guidance on Pupil Premium

Like other types of PP, the purpose of PP+ is to raise educational attainment and close the gap between post-LAC children and their peers. 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

Although this funding is not ring-fenced to individual children, Schools should be aware that the needs of FSM, Service Children and PLAC children are different and therefore pooling all pupil premium together is not always the most effective way of meeting their needs.
Previously Looked-After children are generally disadvantaged due to their early life experiences and therefore this funding should be used to address some of the subsequent difficulties they face within education. This is typically academic under achievement, social and emotional difficulties and school awareness of trauma and attachment needs.

Unlike currently Looked-after children’s Pupil Premium, Schools are not expected to spend the PLAC grants entirely on individual children.

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 £2530 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 £2530 the school has received.”

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/carer’s 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.

The department of Education recommend Pupil Premium Plus should be used to improve outcomes for Previously Looked After 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 e.g. in cases of School refusal
• 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.

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 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.

Role of parents and guardians
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 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.”

Parents and Carer’s are welcome to contact Wokingham Virtual School if they wish to seek advice or further information. For more information please refer to the DfE Guidance document by clicking this link.

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