There is much confusion within the education system between the Pupil Premium (PP) and Service Pupil Premium (SPP). Fundamentally they are different pots of money of different amounts for different groups of children with different needs.
Families must annotate themselves as an Armed Forces family within the yearly schools census for schools to be able to gain the SPP funding per child which is currently £300 per child per year. Ever 5 service child measure. The premium was extended in 2015/16, such that any pupil in Reception to Year 11, who has been flagged as a service child since the January 2011 census, will continue to receive the premium (Ever 5 service child).
The SPP is there for schools to provide mainly pastoral support for service children, whereas the Pupil Premium was introduced to raise attainment and accelerate progress within disadvantaged groups.
Schools should not combine SPP with the main Pupil Premium funding and the spending of each premium should be accounted for separately.
For exact funding take a look at the site https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-service/pupil-premium
It states that…
The Department for Education introduced the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) in April 2011 in recognition of the specific challenges children from service families face and as part of the commitment to delivering the armed forces covenant. State schools, academies and free schools in England, which have children of service families in school years Reception to Year 11, can receive the SPP funding. It is designed to assist the school in providing the additional support that these children may need and is currently worth £300 per service child who meets the eligibility criteria.
(source for this page: gov.uk The Service Pupil Premium: What you need to know)
How should SPP be spent?
In order to support the pastoral needs of service children, schools have flexibility over how they use the SPP, as they are best placed to understand and respond to the specific needs of those pupils for whom the funding has been allocated. The funding could be spent on providing a variety of means of support including counselling provision, nurture groups, e-bluey clubs, etc.
Schools might also consider how to improve the level of and means of communication between the child and their deployed parents. Some schools have introduced ‘Skype time’ clubs, whilst other schools have helped children to develop scrapbooks and diaries that they can show their parents on their return, highlighting their achievements and day to day school life. In addition, staff hours may be required to support the needs of service children when they join a new school as a result of a posting or when a parent is deployed and these hours could be funded by the Service Pupil Premium.
Within schools which experience high levels of service pupil mobility, Mobility Co-ordinators, Forces Liaison Officers, Parent Support Advisors etc. have been employed. These posts tend to work closely with the pupils and families when they move into the area or are due to leave. Such staff can also support pupils and families where a parent is deployed.
SPP should not be used to subsidise routine school activity (trips, music lessons etc.), however, schools may choose to fund school trips just for service children, to help them enjoy their time at school and build a sense of a wider community and understanding of the role their service parent plays (e.g. with military specific trips) to help them cope with the potential strains of service life.
Schools are held to account for the spending of this funding and how the schools spends this funding should be on the school website for access
As with so many aspects of education and wellbeing, it is best to be as proactive as possible. Even if you don’t think a child is showing any additional worries or upset there are still benefits to being able to chat about feelings surrounding military life. Recognising the special circumstances of a child with a parent in the military is so valuable (see Challenges military children face).
- Only regular Armed Forces families are eligible
- Only schools in England can claim this funding
- Reserve forces families are not eligible