The Service Pupil Premium (SPP) was introduced in 2011 by the Department for Education to aid schools in providing additional support that children of service families may need and is part of a government commitment to deliver the Armed Forces Covenant.
What Is It For?
It is designed to be used to provide pastoral support to children who have parent(s) serving in the UK Armed Forces. Schools can choose how best to spend the funding in response to the specific needs of individual pupils.
How Does The SSP Support Forces School Children?
Examples of support could include nurture groups or counselling provision. Funding can be put towards employing/training a dedicated member of staff to oversee the personal and academic progress of service children. The provision of a Student and Family Support Team may work best for one school whereas a trained play therapist or mentor who might be an ex-Serviceman could be better for another.
It shouldn’t be used to fund routine school trips or extra art/music lessons but it can be used for ‘military-specific’ trips or to enable a child to take part in activities they can’t do because a parent has been deployed or that enables them to better understand the role of service personnel.
Computer equipment that enables Skype calls to deployed parents or camera equipment that allows children to send photographs and videos may be another way of spending the funds.
What Is The Difference Between The Pupil Premium And The Service Pupil Premium?
The Pupil Premium is designed to ‘raise attainment and accelerate progress within disadvantaged groups’. The SPP is an additional premium targeted only at service children and the two premiums should be treated and accounted for separately.
Criteria that include pupils who are eligible for Free School Meals (FSMs) and certain guardianship orders/care orders/under Local Authority Care must be met in order to qualify for the Pupil Premium or the Pupil Premium Plus. The funding amounts vary and schools are held accountable as to whether the money is spent effectively. Although funding is designed to raise attainment it can also be spent on ‘non-academic outcomes and improvements including mental health and activities that will also benefit non-eligible pupils’.
Examples of non-academic use could include school breakfast clubs and help with costs of, for example, music lessons or school trips.
Who Is Eligible For SPP?
SPP is predominately for children with a Regular serving parent who they are financially dependent on. Children with a parent who has died in service (or in certain cases injured) and are in receipt of a pension under the Armed Forces Compensation Pension Scheme (AFCS) or War Pensions Scheme (WPS) are also eligible as are those with parents on full commitment as part of Full-Time Reserve Service (FTRS FC).
How Is The SPP Claimed?
Throughout England, state schools, academies and free schools are able to claim the current rate of £300 per child for reception age through to Year 11. The payment is paid directly to schools but can only be claimed if the child(ren)’s name is entered in the school’s roll. Parents must ensure that the schools are aware of their service status in advance of the Spring school census deadline of 16th January 2020.