09: Pupil Premium (Plus)

Background

The Personal Education Allowance (PEA) was established in Sept 2011 when £430 per annum was made available for vulnerable and underprivileged groups including LAC. It changed its name to Pupil Premium, rose to £623 in 2012 and to £900 for Sept 2013. In April 2014 it was rechristened the Pupil Premium Plus (PPP) and doubled to £1900.

How it is spent

The PPP should be allocated and agreed at the PEP meeting. Its main focus is closing the attainment gap between vulnerable pupils and their peers. Historically there hadn’t been much scrutiny of how the PPP was spent but this is beginning to change, largely due to the larger sums now involved. Initially the money was paid directly into schools’ budgets and it was sometimes difficult to discover exactly how it had been spent; even when it was clear where the money had been used, it wasn’t always spent in the best interests of the young person in question. There are examples of it being pooled without any direct benefit for the intended children. For the PPP to be used effectively, the school need to target the money on the pupils’ areas of weakness and provide a bespoke support programme. The VSH has a key role in the decision-making process as the funding goes directly to them rather than schools. They manage the money and should consider school’s requests diligently. It is worth noting that different LAs are free to manage the grant in their own way so there are sometimes discrepancies between what they will allow the PPP to be spent on. For example some LAs allow PPP to be spent on school trips as it encourages social interaction whilst other LAs would see the funding of such trips as part of the carers’ responsibilities.

Ideas for spending the PPP

The Sutton Trust has researched the effectiveness of various types of support in schools. Based on its findings, it has produced a toolkit to assist schools in choosing which type of intervention might be of most benefit. (Bear in mind however that each child is an individual, and knowledge of individual strengths and needs is also important, as is the recognition that not all schools can provide all types of support).

http://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/toolkit/

In February 2013, OFSTED published a report called ‘The Pupil Premium: how schools are spending the funding successfully to maximise achievement’. It details ways that schools have effectively used the money to benefit the targeted pupils.

There is a reading scheme for LAC called ‘Letterbox’ which delivers parcels of age-appropriate books, stationery and educational games monthly between May and September. The parcels are something that the young people will actually own, rather than library books to be returned. For more information contact Gavin Hogg at Capstone or visit http://www.letterboxclub.org.uk/about-us/letterbox-parcels/

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