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School Support Funding
Helping your child reach their potential
State-funded schools in England can receive the Pupil Premium funding to help them give extra support for all children adopted from care.
What is the Pupil Premium?
The Pupil Premium provides extra funding to state-funded schools to help their staff give extra support to disadvantaged pupils including, but not restricted to, those adopted from care. Children in receipt of free school meals or children of forces families are also included.
From April 2014, funding was increased to £1900 per pupil and to include all children adopted from care, not just those adopted after 30 December 2005, as previously was the case. It is paid to schools so that they can invest in specific support measure to address the issues that may be preventing them from reaching their potential. It applies to all adopted school children from Reception class through to year 11 that were adopted from care.
Why do adopted children need extra support in school?
It has been shown in various studies that children adopted from care do not perform as well as their classmates at school. In 2013, less than half of adopted children reached the expected levels of reading, writing and maths at Key Stage 2, compared with 75% of non-adopted children.
All adopted children have experienced loss and many have experienced trauma in their early lives. 70 per cent of those adopted in 2009-10* entered care due to abuse or neglect. Adoption offers bright futures for children from care, but it does not erase their past.
We know from listening to young adopted people on our TALKadoption programmes that school can be a particularly difficult time. Recommendations the have provided as part of government consultations include the need for teachers to be ‘more sensitive to the needs of adoptive young people’ and to ‘be given special training to understand more about adoption so they can properly help’.
Adoption UK surveyed 1500 adopters to gain an understanding of the issues adopted children face in school. The report ‘Adopted Children’s Experience of School - April 2014’ found the following:
- 71 % of parents surveyed said their child's experience of neglect and or abuse in their early life has impacted their ability to cope in school academically and three quarters (75 per cent) said it has an impact on their child’s social ability in school
- 80 % of adoptive parents represented said that their child needs more support than their peers and nearly two thirds (59 per cent) said their child is always trying to catch up in school and make up for their early life experience
- Nearly two thirds (64 %) of parents said that the teenage years are, or were, the most difficult time for their child at school
Adopted children's early experiences can have a lasting impact, particularly at school. Therefore teachers and schools have a vital role to play in helping these children emotionally, socially and academically by providing specific support to raise their attainment and address their wider needs.
How the money will be spent
Schools have flexibility over how they use the pupil premium, as they, along with the parents of the adopted children, are best placed to understand their specific needs and to address the barriers that might prevent such children from achieving their full potential. For example, schools could choose to invest in one-to-one tuition or catch-up sessions for particular curriculum subjects, or training for staff on issues relating to attachment.
While the money is not ring-fenced to be directly applied to the child, the accountability measures in place around the pupil premium should ensure that schools uses the funding specifically to benefit those pupils for whom it has been allocated.
Enabling your child to benefit from the Pupil Premium
So that your child’s school can claim the Pupil Premium, you will need to inform the school that your child is adopted and provide supporting evidence, for example a photocopy of the Adoption Order.
You will need to inform them before the school completes the Spring census. This will then trigger the payment of the Pupil Premium payment to the school for the next financial year.