Pupil premium grants

The government provides pupil premium plus funding to schools for those previously looked after children identified on the January census. This funding is to support schools to improve the educational achievement of previously looked after children and to close the attainment gap between this group of children and other children. Head teachers identify the best use of the funding to support both individuals and the whole group

Other children who were adopted from 'state care' outside England and Wales are entitled to the advice and support but do not attract pupil premium plus funding. 'State care' is care provided by a public authority, a religious organisation, or any other organisation whose sole or main purpose is to benefit society.

A school has a statutory responsibility to appoint a designated teacher for looked after children and previously looked after children. This should ideally be a senior teacher who is able to influence and monitor the best outcomes for this group of children. Whilst previously looked after children will no longer have a Termly Personal Education Plan (TPEP), the funding school receives directly should benefit them in supporting their educational outcomes.

Pupil premium plus for previously looked after children

Pupil premium plus is:

  • managed by the school's headteacher and designated teacher
  • used for the benefit of the group of previously looked after children
  • not a personal budget but can be used to support individual need
  • allocated directly to schools
  • reported on annually through the pupil premium report to evaluate impact

The Virtual School will support early education settings and schools to have high expectations in helping previously looked after children to achieve their full potential in education. The school’s designated teacher should understand the support available to previously looked after children (eg mental health services) and be able to liaise effectively with service providers and signpost parents to those services. These may include social care partners, health visitors, the youth support service among other agencies and services. This may for example focus on supporting the child to develop supportive friendships and relationships with key people and therapy to support positive mental health. These in turn can have a positive impact in supporting attendance and behaviour for learning.

The extra funding should take into account the specific needs of eligible pupils. The funding provided by the pupil premium plus grant reflects the significant additional barriers faced by previously looked after children. The designated teacher has an important role in ensuring the needs of previously looked after are understood by the school’s staff and reflected in how the school uses pupil premium plus to support these children. Part of the designated teacher’s role is ensuring that they, and other school staff, have strong awareness, training and skills around the specific needs of previously looked after children and how to support them.

Getting the most from pupil premium plus 

The document ‘The designated teacher for looked after and previously looked after children statutory guidance on their roles and responsibilities’ 2018 sets out the duties of schools and outlines how schools can ensure that the special education needs and mental health of previously looked after children can best be met. It also gives a summary of how schools can get the most out of the pupil premium plus grants by using approaches which are effective and which focus on developing relationships and emotional security and development. 

Approaches that are:

  • individually tailored to the needs and strengths of each pupil
  • consistent; based on agreed core principles and components, but also flexible and responsive
  • based on evidence of what works
  • focused on clear short-term goals which give opportunities for pupils to experience success
  • including regular, high quality feedback from teaching staff
  • engaging parents/carers in the agreement and evaluation of arrangements for education support (eg via the Personal Education Plan)
  • supporting pupil transition (eg primary to secondary/key stage 3 to key stage 4)
  • raising aspirations through access to high-quality educational experiences
  • promoting the young person’s awareness and understanding of their own thought process and help to develop problem-solving strategies

Which emphasise:

  • relationship-building, both with appropriate adults and with peers
  • an emotionally intelligent approach to the setting of clear behaviour boundaries
  • increasing pupil’s understanding of their own emotions and identity
  • positive reinforcement
  • building self-esteem
  • relevance to the learner; relate to pupil’s interests where possible - make it matter to them
  • a joined-up approach involving social worker/carer/Virtual School Head and other relevant professionals
  • strong and visionary leadership on the part of both of the pupil’s head teachers
  • a child centred approach to assessment for learning

Information produced by Darren Martindale, Virtual School Head for City of Wolverhampton Council, in ‘The designated teacher for looked-after and previously looked after children statutory guidance on their roles and responsibilities 2018'.