4 Financial Support Schemes |
Service Pupil Premium
89. In April 2011 the DfE introduced a pupil premium
in England to provide additional support to children from low-income
families who were eligible for free school meals, looked-after
children and children from families with parents in the Armed
Forces. The Service Pupil Premium is paid directly to schools
in England to support Service children on their register. The
premium increased from £250 to £300 per pupil per year
from April 2013. Schools can spend this money as they see fit.
The Premium is part of the Government's commitments made in the
Armed Forces Covenant.
Martin Bull said:
The Pupil Premium is there to help schools
and mobility, and that is based on the number of children in the
school census identified as Service children. It is there to be
used to help induct that child and get that child's curriculum
up to speed, so that they can go straight into class and not learn
about the Tudors three times. It is there to help them with social,
emotional and pastoral needs. It has increased reasonably over
the years since we introduced it. There is a strong commitment
for us to retain that Service Premium. The money is there per
pupil: it is £300 this year, which is good newsit
was £250 in the first yearand we are hoping it will
90. Evidence we heard from parents at the Wellington
Academy at Tidworth, the Families Federations and the on-line
survey indicates that not all parents are aware of the premium,
or are not aware of how it is spent. Bill Mahon said:
Our evidence is that a majority of families
have not heard of the Service Pupil Premium, and do not know what
it is for. A communications message and piece are required to
help promote it, perhaps more so than there is at the moment.
And the RAF Families Federation told us that:
Comments have also been made about the way
that the funds are being spent, with many parents asking how their
schools should be using the funding to best support Service children.
While many schools are already making the best use of these funds,
and sharing best practice with others, we have received evidence
to the contrary from other young Service family members. One told
that her school had spent the funds on arts supplies while another
had organised a trip just for the Service children but this then
caused problems with the non-Service children, who challenged
why they were being treated as a special case.
The NAO told us that:
Seven in ten (72 per cent) respondents were
aware of the Service Premium. Awareness was lowest among Royal
Marines families (58 per cent aware, 22 out of 38) and highest
among Royal Air Force families (79 per cent aware, 151 out of
However, of the 718 respondents who were
aware of the Premium, only 14 per cent (102 parents) knew how
their children's school spent this additional money, 28 per cent
(201) said that they did not have children at state/maintained
schools since April 2011 (and hence would not have had children
eligible for the Service Premium), and 58 per cent (415) did not
know how the Premium was spent. Of the 102 parents who knew how
their children's school spent the Premium, the majority (80 per
cent) thought that the money was helpful to the Service children
at the school, with 41 per cent saying that it was 'very' and
39 per cent that it was 'fairly' helpful.
91. The DfE gave us a range of examples of how the
Service Pupil Premium funds had been used. It also provided examples
of its use on its website.
For example, many schools use the additional funds to provide
pastoral care and support for children whose Service parent may
be on operations. Martin Bull said:
The DFE worked with the MoD and wrote to about
1,000 schools known to us to have high numbers of Service children
on the roll and we gathered case studies. [...] A head teacher
might offer one-to-one tuition to help the child catch up in terms
of the curriculum. It might be used to help induct them and provide
a smooth transition from a school abroad to the new school. There
might be support for a buddy system. Another example relates to
SEN and whether support is needed around SEN for a child, so there
is immediate support if the child arrived really quickly and was
not known about in advance. It has been used a number of different
EXPENDITURE ON THE SERVICE PUPIL
92. Schools with a significant number of Service
children can receive a substantial amount of money. MoD provided
expenditure statistics on the premium as follows:
The total annual expenditure on the Service Pupil
Premium since its introduction.
Service Premium financial year 2012-13: 52,370
children - £15,712,000 (introduced ever measure and increased
rate to £250 per service child).
Total for 2011-12 and 2012-13: £24,726,000.
Service Premium financial year 2013-14 rate increased
to £300 per service child. However, the timing of data means
we do not yet have final pupil numbers for this year.
- Service Premium financial year 2011-12: 45,070
children - £9,014,000 (rate of £200 per service child).
EVALUATION OF THE SERVICE PUPIL
93. Ofsted told us:
from February 2013, inspectors will report specifically
on the performance in English and mathematics of pupils supported
through the pupil premium compared to all other pupils in the
school. Inspectors will highlight any differences between the
average point scores for English and mathematics and whether gaps
are narrowing for [...] children of service families and all other
94. We note that Ofsted have strengthened their inspections
to report on performance in English and mathematics of pupils
supported by the Pupil Premium from February 2013. But we look
for more evaluation of spending on the Service Pupil Premium and
evidence that this funding is used to support Service children
in the particular problems they face, for example the provision
of pastoral care when a parent is deployed on operations; difficulties
a child may experience when they change schools part way through
a school year, or where there are conflicts over the curriculum
between the new and old school, and gaps may need to be filled.
95. We support the payment of the Service Pupil
Premium to support Service children. However, we are not convinced
that this expenditure is adequately monitored for value for money
for the taxpayer, and to ensure that it is used to the best possible
advantage to the Service children themselves. The Government should
introduce guidelines on how the Service Pupil Premium should be
spent. It should also require schools to make more transparent
how this money is spent. The Government should monitor and publish
this information and share examples of best practice.
96. Ofsted should be asked to report in more detail
on the results achieved by use of the Service Pupil Premium to
ensure that the funding is meeting the particular needs of Service
children. The DfE and the MoD should also report on the overall
level of expenditure on the Service Pupil Premium.
97. The Armed Forces Covenant applies to all Service
personnel and their families across the UK, however the Service
Pupil Premium is paid only in England. Northern Ireland operates
a similar scheme where qualifying schools receive an additional
£405 per child (2012-13 rates) for each full-time pupil from
a Service family.
This money is used to bridge learning gaps caused by the transient
nature of Service children.
It can also be used for pastoral care services.
In written evidence, the MoD said that the Welsh DfE and Skills
had not yet formally considered the option and the Scottish Service
Children's Stakeholder Network, chaired and facilitated by the
Scottish Directorate for Learning, have judged that such an option
is not currently required in Scotland.
98. In its contribution to this inquiry, the Scottish
we have not implemented the Pupil Premium or
the Service Pupil Premium. The distribution formula used to allocate
the Scottish Government's funding to local authorities has been
developed over a number of years and is based on the relative
need of each local authority, including levels of deprivation
(take up of Free School Meals and income support). The needs based
formula for local government funding was reviewed in 2009 by a
joint Scottish Government/Convention of Scottish Local Authorities
(CoSLA) group. It concluded that the existing needs-based indicators
were reasonable and generally a fair indication of need.
The Welsh Government said
There is no Service Pupil Premium in Wales. However,
there is support available for children of Service families in
schools in Wales through our School Effectiveness Grant and the
Pupil Deprivation Grant. These grants are the Welsh Government's
principal means of providing financial support for our three national
priorities for schools: improving standards in literacy; improving
standards in numeracy, and reducing the impact of poverty on educational
attainment. Responding to the challenges we face in improving
our educational outcomes in Wales by taking action in isolation
on different parts of the education system is counter to the aims
of the grants. All Service children in Wales, including those
that come to Wales in the future, will benefit from the funding
available to schools through these grants, as will each pupil
99. Evidence from Service families questioned why
the Service Pupil Premium is not paid for all Service children
across the UK.
We live in Wales and the schools do not receive
the Service Premium but the children at schools in Wales still
face the same issues that they do when they move in England. There
are not many postings in Wales but our children have to learn
Welsh, the Service Premium could really benefit the children in
giving them extra assistance in this new and unusual language.[...]It
shouldn't matter where the child is at school, it should be all
children have this premium or none of them.
Whilst we welcomed the financial support that
the Premium brings to schools with Service children, many families
have asked why it only applies to those in state schools in England.
Those posted to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have challenged
why their children do not get the same support and feel that they
too are being disadvantaged.
100. The anomalies in the payment of a Service
Pupil Premium across the Devolved Administrations indicates a
contradiction between the Armed Forces Covenant and the practice
across the UK. The Government should liaise with the Devolved
Administrations to encourage the same level of support for all
Service children across the UK in line with the Covenant. In its
response to this report the Government should set out why the
Service Pupil Premium can at the same time represent good value
for money in those areas which have it and be unnecessary in those
areas which do not.
LOCAL AUTHORITY FUNDING
101. We were concerned to hear from head teachers
during the evidence session at the Wellington Academy that some
Local Authorities might have taken payment of the Service Pupil
Premium into account when allocating funding and removed other
sources of funding. Susan Raeburn said:
The local authority used to give us something
called the Forces Protection Factor, so when the Pupil Premium
came in everyone was kind of saying, "Oh, you are so lucky.
You have an extra £40,000 for your school" or whatever.
I think the first year the Pupil Premium came in the local authority
took away the Forces Protection Factor. [...]We ended up £1,000
worse off, because we got our Pupil Premium money and then they
took away the Forces Protection Factor, saying, "We are not
paying this anymore".
The other thing is that my understanding is when
the new funding streams were being discussed in our local authority,
one of the streams that Wiltshire could have chosen to fund us
on was mobility. [...] they said it was too complicated to be
able to put it into practice [...] so they discounted that as
a possible way of supporting the funding.
Andy Schofield said:
I think the biggest problem in terms of funding
across the board for schools that have a high proportion of military
families is that on most measures of deprivation we don't really
register,[...] Here you do not get that core funding. It is assumed
that because your free school meals level is generally low then
you must be in affluent Wiltshire, and that is completely the
opposite. [...]. There needs to be an additional funding element.
[...]the overall level of funding is not high enough to enable
us to do those longer-term things. We should not have to rely
on £3,000 grants from the military to do a bit of counselling.
It should be systemic.
102. We are concerned that the introduction of
the Service Pupil Premium has replaced other forms of funding,
so that schools with a significant number of Service children
may not benefit as much as was intended. The Government should
ensure that Local Authorities do not use the Service Pupil Premium
to replace other funding.
The Ministry of Defence Support
Fund for Schools
103. The Ministry of Defence Support Fund for Schools
provides £3 million a year for four years (2011-15) to help
mitigate the effects of mobility and deployment for schools with
a Service children population. The MoD told us:
The fund was set up to provide funding to maintained
schools with Service children, (regular and reserves forces),
to help them provide mitigating action where their Service community
were experiencing either exceptional mobility and/or deployment
and this was impacting upon the school. Any grant from the fund
is paid directly to the school to implement the mitigating action
which should benefit the whole school not just those Service children
State schools across the UK can apply to the Support
Fund for assistance. In oral evidence, the MoD and the DfE gave
us examples of how this fund may be used, including supporting
pupils in the Devolved Administrations in place of the Service
Pupil Premium. Table 2 below shows how these funds have been
allocated across the four nations of the UK.
Table 2: Distribution of the Support Fund
Source: Ministry of Defence
104. The figures show that Scotland and Northern
Ireland receive a disproportionately high percentage of the funds
based on Service children numbers. As schools in the three Devolved
Administrations do not receive the pupil premium it is not unreasonable
for England to receive less, but schools in Wales should be encouraged
to apply for funds in line with those made in Scotland and Northern
105. The Government should publish figures showing
the distribution of the Support Fund for Schools across all parts
of the UK, and encourage applications from Welsh schools to ensure
all regions get their fair share.
106. However, it must be remembered that the Support
Fund for Schools is a relatively small fund (£3 million per
year over four years, compared with an average annual Service
Pupil Premium payment of £12.4 million).
We consider the plans for this expenditure are very ambitious
for a relatively small amount of money. As with the Service Pupil
Premium, there is lack of evidence on the value for money of this
107. The Devolved Administrations have acknowledged
some of the benefits of the MoD Support Fund for Schools. The
Scottish Government said
The Scottish Government has welcomed the £3M
Fund and has worked in partnership with the Ministry of Defence,
CoSLA and ADES to ensure it was promoted across Scotland and fit
for purpose within devolved responsibilities.
We have fully supported this fund, specifically
one of my officials is the chair of the regional assessment panel
here in Scotland. I am aware that there is one year funding left
from this Commitment and I am confident that our work here in
Scotland will draw in another good level of quality bids. It
is unfortunate that this fund will come to an end prior to the
movements taking place as part of the re-basing review.
And the Welsh Government said:
I am pleased to inform the Defence Committee
that generous funding from the MOD's Support Fund for Schools
with Service Children is already helping several Welsh schools
support Service children. [...] Welsh Government officials will
be working closely with their MOD counterparts to devise a means
of encouraging more Welsh schools to apply under the next funding
108. The Government should publish details of
the ways in which the Support Fund for Schools money is spent
in support of Service children, and give examples of good practice
so that best use is made of this limited resource. We agree with
the Scottish Government, that the Government should maintain this
Fund after the planned four years to provide pastoral and other
support to individual schools where needed. The need will rise
as significant numbers of Service children move during re-basing
and the withdrawal from Germany.
Support for Bereaved Families
THE ARMED FORCES BEREAVEMENT SCHOLARSHIP
109. The Armed Forces Bereavement Scholarship Scheme
provides university and further education scholarships for the
children of Service personnel who have died on active duty since
The aim of this scheme is to give the children
of those who have died in the service of their country a head
start in life by enabling them to obtain a university degree or
further education training. The Scheme is funded by BIS, DfE and
the devolved administrations, but is administered by the MOD.
To date, 95 children have benefited from the scheme.
110. The scheme pays £1,500 a year to encourage
children to stay on in Further Education, and up to £13,950
(for tuition fees and maintenance) to help those children to study
for a university degree).
The scheme is not means tested.
111. Concerns regarding the ability of bereaved families
to meet the on-going costs of school fees were brought to our
attention during the course of our inquiry. We heard concerns
that the continuity of children's education could be endangered
when families could not maintain payment of school fees. We also
heard that there could be delays in the payment of pensions and
112. We sought assurance from the MoD that provision
was made for these families. We were concerned that these families
were reliant on charities or school bursaries to maintain continuity
of education in such cases. The MoD told us that:
a. There will be no new entitlement for any
child not already in receipt of CEA when the claimant dies or
is invalided, irrespective of any future parental aspirations
for the education of a child.
b. CEA will continue to be paid up
to the end of the current stage of education or for up to 2 full
terms after the term in which the death or invaliding of the claimant
occurred for each child, whichever is the longer extension
c. If the child is already studying for public
examinations, CEA will continue to be paid for up to 4 years or
to the end of the term in which the child takes the examination
and then leaves school, whichever is soonest, e.g., for a child
aged 14-16 years who moves onto A-level studies, this would normally
be up to 4 further years, for a child aged 16-18 years it would
normally be up to 2 further years.
Payment is an income stream paid monthly to eligible child(ren)
in order to provide financial support following the loss of their
parent, guardian or person on whom they were financially dependant.
It is normally payable up to the age of 18 (or until the child
commences full time paid employment), or up to the age of 23 if
still in full time education. The Child Payment is taxable and
is adjusted in respect of any benefit paid under the Armed Forces
113. We are reassured that a range of funding
is available to support the education of children of a parent
killed in the service of their country, though such payments need
to be made promptly to avoid unnecessary hardship or worry for
129 The Armed Forces Covenant: Today and Tomorrow,
Q 451 Back
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National Audit Office, The education of Service children: findings
of an National Audit Office consultation, April 2013 paras
3.8 and 3.9 www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmdfence/writev/941/naopart3.pdf
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