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What is Service Pupil Premium and how do I get it for my child?

It isn’t always known that the Government give extra funding to schools in England for children with parent(s) serving in the regular British Armed Forces. All that parents need to do is make sure each child is listed on school records as a ‘service/armed forces child’. It is important to remember that the service pupil premium (SPP) is not the same as the pupil premium (PP).

At time of writing the SPP is £300 per year per service child.

Pupil Premium was introduced to raise attainment and accelerate progress within disadvantaged groups.. The idea is to use the money to help ‘close the gap’ between pupils working below where they should be educationally and their peers.

Service Pupil Premium is also extra funding for schools, but not for attainment. It is to support children with parents serving in the regular armed forces. They are eligible as long as they have been registered as a ‘service child’ at any point since 2011. It may be that targeted support is needed to help catch up or go over topics they have missed by moving, but the main support is pastoral, which is looking after the general wellbeing of your child and supporting the challenges they face due to their parent serving in the British Armed Forces.

For exact funding take a look at the site;
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-service-pupil-premium.

It states;

The Service Pupil Premium is provided by the Department
for Education, to State maintained schools, Free schools and
Academies in England who have children of Regular Armed Forces
personnel among their pupil population to provide additional
(mainly pastoral) support.

Source:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-service-pupilpremium/service-pupil-premium-what-you-need-to-know

Points to note:

  • SPP is only available for children of regular armed forces personnel
  • SPP is only available for children in schools in England
  • You must have declared your family as an Armed Forces family for the school to be able to get the funding
  • SPP is for pastoral support for your child specifically linked with the challenges faced as a military child
  • Reserve families are not eligible for this funding
  • Families based in Wales and Scotland are not eligible for this funding
  • Children in boarding school do not get this funding
  • Children in Reception to Year 11 attract this funding
  • You don’t need to live in military housing to be eligible, you can live in your own home
  • When the annual school census comes home you MUST annotate on this you are an Armed Forces family, this ensures the school gets the funding for your child that year

How should the SPP be spent?

Lots of us would like to see exactly how the £300 is accounted for to our individual child, but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that! Some schools will subsidise trips or uniform, but being a service child doesn’t automatically mean financial disadvantage so this isn’t necessarily a good use of the money. The disturbance allowance is to contribute to additional costs such as these incurred when moving. SPP is designed to enable schools to provide support for the children coping with change, deployment, injury, friendship issues and so on. Schools might choose to buy resources for the children, such as iPads to use during transition or for face time / Skype calls. The money is often used to contribute to the salary of a staff member to allocate designated time to children who need time to talk, prepare or reflect on what is going on at home. This is particularly important during times of deployment.

With ultimate responsibility for the education and wellbeing of our children we shouldn’t shy away from asking schools how the money is spent. It can’t be spent directly on your individual child but schools do need to demonstrate how the money is being used. How the money is spent should be clearly stated on the school website so have a look there first. If you can’t find the information you need, pop in and ask! In a larger school with a high percentage of families there may be a designated member of staff for the service families. In smaller schools a percentage of ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) time will be directed.

Even if you don’t think your child is showing any additional worries or upset about any aspect of being in the military world there are still benefits to being able to chat about feelings. Every child is unique and having some specialist support can only be a good thing. Your child might not move very much but will have said goodbye to many friends over time; any upset can manifest itself in a variety of ways and not always at the time of saying goodbye. ELSA time can be a preventative measure to put in place so that children are developing coping strategies before they need them.

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