Thousands of children in Thanet could be entitled to receive a Government grant known as ‘pupil premium.’
It is a payment made to schools, both primary and secondary, and also covers academies. It’s aimed at children who come from disadvantaged families and is designed to support them throughout their education.
The official definition is: “The pupil premium is additional funding for publicly funded schools in England to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils of all abilities and to close the gaps between them and their peers.”
Is YOUR child eligible? What is the criteria for receiving pupil premium?
If your child is entitled to free school meals and you are on the following benefits, you may be eligible:
- Income support
- Income-based jobseekers’ allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Support under Part IV of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- The guaranteed element of state pension credit
- Child tax credit, provided that you are not also entitled to working tax credit and have an annual gross income of £16,190 or less
- Universal credit
Your child’s school will be able to tell you what you need to do to register your child as eligible.
Even if your child is entitled to free school meals, but they take a packed lunch, tell the school, they may be entitled to claim the pupil premium for you and your child should still benefit.
How much is the Premium?
Pupil in Reception to year 6 = £1,320
Pupils in year 7 – 11 = £935
What is the money spent on?
Pupil premium can be used to provide continued support, pay for music lessons if the parents cannot afford them, educational school trips, or for something that benefits the education of your child. It can be used for language assistance or for facilities for children who need additional support. Full details at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pupil-premium-information-for-schools-and-alternative-provision-settings
Can it be spent on other pupils?
No – it must be spent to benefit your child or a group of children in similar circumstances, it cannot be spent by putting it into the “school pot”.
Can I influence what the premium is spent on?
No, each school/academy has to publish within its policy what they intend to spend it on, but if your unsure don’t hesitate to ask, study the guidelines and see how exactly your child will benefit. If you don’t recognise an area you feel your child will benefit from, raise a query with the school immediately.
Are schools held to account of what they spend the premium on?
Yes, they are accountable, you also have a right to know how your child has benefited from the premium. Ofsted inspections will hold schools/academies accountable for what they have spent the allocated money on.
How do I know what my child’s school spends the pupil premium on?
Each school must produce a copy of their own “Pupil Premium Policy”. As a parent, you have the right to a copy and it can sometimes be found upon each schools’ website under “policies”.
What if I’m not sure about something within the policy?
You have the right to a meeting with the school for an explanation. Schools should produce a policy that is easy to understand for parents, if you’re in any doubt – ask!
Can I make a formal complaint if I don’t think my child is benefiting?
Yes, you can. You need to write to the school lodging an official complaint, briefly stating the reason for your complaint and a copy should be send to the Board of Governors. Parent Governors are usually approachable and will act on your behalf, as they have children at the school and it’s in their best interests to do so.
What If I’m still not satisfied?
You now have the right (after first having attempted to resolve the problem with the school but receiving no satisfactory result) to make a complaint against the school with KCC Education Maidstone and to Ofsted.
More information can be found at the following websites and provide a wealth of assistance, but always try to resolve the problem you have with the school first
By John Horton