Pupil Premium Grant funding

Guidance on PPG and information for schools on how the Suffolk Virtual School administers the funding.

In this section you will find information on:

  • The LAC premium
  • The Suffolk Virtual School PPG funding model
  • Using the LAC premium: best practice guidance
  • Early Years Pupil Premium
  • Frequently asked questions relating to LAC premium allocation and payment processes

The LAC premium

Children who are in local authority care in national curriculum years Reception to 11 attract Pupil Premium Grant (PPG) funding, also known as the LAC premium or pupil premium plus. This funding is provided for the government policy of raising the attainment of disadvantaged pupils of all abilities to reach their potential.

Funding for pupils in care goes to the Virtual School Head (VSH) in the local authority that looks after the child. VSHs are responsible for managing the LAC premium and using it for the benefit of the pupil’s educational needs as described in their Personal Education Plan (PEP).  There is no automatic entitlement for the school to receive this funding for eligible pupils and the VSH can pool funds or retain a portion of the full amount under the conditions of grant.  The VSHs in most authorities retain a portion and use this in a variety of ways to support children to achieve good outcomes.

Pupil Premium Conditions of Grant 2022 to 23

The Suffolk Virtual School Head manages the PPG for children in the care of Suffolk County Council. The PPG for children in the care of other local authorities is managed by the Virtual School Head in those authorities. Please contact the relevant Virtual School for details of their process.

The post-LAC premium for children who have been adopted from care, or moved from care to a special guardianship order or child arrangements order is not managed by the Virtual School Head, but goes directly to schools.  Please visit the section Previously looked after children for more information on PPG funding for these pupils.

The Suffolk Virtual School PPG funding model

The full amount for the financial year 2022 to 23 is £2,345 per child in care. In Suffolk, an allocation will be paid termly to schools, linked to the Virtual School's moderation of a sufficient termly PEP for eligible pupils. Any remaining funding is managed directly by the Suffolk Virtual School Head to support children with greater levels of need or where interventions can be obtained more cost-effectively by commissioning in bulk.

In the 2022 to 23 financial year, Suffolk’s VSH will be managing the grant using the following principles:

  • All the Pupil Premium Grant will be spent to enhance the education, learning and outcomes of children in the care of Suffolk.
  • The grant will be passed on to any educational setting where the designated teacher for Suffolk pupils in care provides the Virtual School with termly Personal Education Plans which contain progress information and evidence of effective intervention illustrating how the funding is being used;
  • Children who are in the care of Suffolk County Council and on roll on the first day of term will be eligible for pupil premium for that term;
  • Where a pupil in the care of Suffolk County Council joins a school, or becomes looked after, part way through the term, a judgement will be made on a case by case basis by the Virtual School Head as to whether a payment can be made for that term;
  • Termly PPG allocations are currently set at payments of up to £600 per eligible pupil;
  • Educational settings may apply for additional funding. This could be for the benefit of an individual or group of Children in Care. All applications will be considered, with payments made if the request is approved by the VSH.  Please contact the Virtual School for further discussion.
  • Schools may also be allocated an additional sum per eligible child in the Spring term if there is any of the centrally retained portion of the grant remaining unspent.

It is important to stress that the LAC premium does not remove the responsibility of schools and their staff to monitor progress of children in care, intervene where appropriate and assess the effectiveness of intervention.  It is to provide additional support, not to subsidise the entitlement every pupil on the school roll enjoys. Equally, it should not subsidise the entitlements children have as set out in the SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years, published in June 2014.

Using the LAC premium: best practice guidance

There are many best practice reports available including How Schools are spending the funding (Ofsted) and Evaluation of Pupil Premium Research Report July 2013.

The Education Endowment Foundation Toolkit is also very useful in helping to identify strategies that are most effective and has been used to identify the preferred interventions found in the Suffolk PEP.

Early Years Pupil Premium

Eligibility for the Early Years Pupil Premium is different for early years settings than for schools and is paid at a different rate. Read details from the Early years pupil premium: guide for local authorities.

See how Suffolk County Council implements the Early Years Pupil Premium for children in care.

Suffolk's Family Information Service can provide further information. Call 0345 60 800 33 or send an email to: childcare.planning@suffolk.gov.uk.

Frequently Asked Questions - PPG for Suffolk Children in Care

Allocating the PPG

How much PPG funding will be paid for each eligible pupil?

PPG payments are allocated to schools with eligible pupils on a termly basis.

For pupils who are already in care and who have not changed education settings between terms:

The amount of PPG payable is based on the cost of interventions to support the pupil as recorded on the previous term’s Personal Education Plan (PEP) up to a maximum of £600 per term per pupil. Where the amount of PPG recorded in the previous term’s PEP is less than £600, that figure will be the amount that will be paid.

For pupils who are new into care:

When a child comes into care an initial pupil premium payment of up to £600 will be paid to the most appropriate educational setting for the pupil. This is to provide a working budget to put in additional support at this time.  When a child comes into care towards the end of a term, a pupil premium funding allocation will be discussed on a case by case basis. 

For children who change education setting during the term:

When a child changes school during a term, that term's pupil premium grant allocation will be reviewed on a case by case basis. 

What happens if the child leaves the school soon after the PPG payment has been made?

Payments to schools where children have moved away during the term will be reviewed on a case by case basis, but the Virtual School does not operate a policy of recoupment for funding already awarded. It may be appropriate to offer any unspent funding to the child’s new school. The moral imperative is to ensure that this funding advantages the most disadvantaged pupils and transition is a time when they are most vulnerable. If this funding were to be used to support transition it could have a significant impact.

What happens if a child leaves care soon after the PPG payment has been received?

The Virtual School does not operate a policy of recoupment for funding already awarded. It is likely that the child, although no longer in care, is still vulnerable and the expectation would be that the funding is used to support them.

Can a school receive any more than the standard £600 PPG funding per pupil in one term?

The Designated Teacher should contact the Virtual School and the request will be considered by a member of the Virtual School Leadership Team.

The pupil premium payment and the termly PEP

How does submitting the PEP online trigger funding?

The Personal Education Plan (PEP) should be completed and submitted every term by the Designated Teacher for Children in Care using the online ePEP portal, Welfare Call. PEP submission and subsequent approval by the Virtual School by the submission date in one term will usually trigger a PPG payment in the following term. For example, a PEP submitted and approved in the Autumn Term will trigger funding in the Spring Term for an eligible pupil.

Is payment of the PPG automatic when a PEP has been submitted?

It is important to note that payment of the PPG is subject to a number of conditions. Only PEPs judged by the Virtual School to be of sufficient quality will trigger the following term’s PPG funding and the pupil must still be in the care of Suffolk County Council and attending the same school when the PPG payment is due to be made the following term.

What are the deadlines for PEP submission?

These are set termly by the Suffolk Virtual School. Information on the deadlines will be sent out to schools with eligible pupils and are advertised on the Virtual School webpages.

Does the PEP meeting affect the PPG funding?

Children in the care of Suffolk have asked that their PEP meeting is not driven by the paperwork and we have asked Social Workers to facilitate this request by leading the PEP in the format of a person-centred meeting which follows the practice advocated in their chosen practice framework: Signs of Safety and Wellbeing. The meeting can therefore inform how the funding could be used but the meeting is not linked to awarding the funding to the school.

The payment process

For a Suffolk County Council maintained school:

Suffolk County Council maintained schools will be paid by journal. After the journal has been processed an email will be sent to the DT at the school (and the school finance contact or school office email) to notify that a payment has been made. The email will include the initials and year group of the pupils the payment relates to. Journals will usually be processed during the third or fourth week of term for eligible pupils who were on roll at the start of the school term.

For schools not maintained by Suffolk County Council:

A purchase order (PO) will be raised and sent to the email address recorded on Suffolk County Council’s finance system for your school. If this email address changes, please notify the Virtual School Office as soon as possible and we will arrange for it to be updated on the finance system. As soon as the PO has been raised, the Virtual School Office will send an email to the school’s DT, finance officer and/or school office. The email will include the initials and year group of the pupils the payment relates to as well as the PO number.

When are payments processed?

PPG payments will start being processed by the Virtual School Office from the second or third week of each new term for pupils who were on roll at the start of that term. All payments for these pupils will usually be processed before the half term holiday. If an eligible pupil is new into school or new into care, then authorised payments will usually be processed a couple of weeks after the start date.

Invoicing Suffolk County Council

Please raise an invoice as soon as possible after receipt of the PO and email to ensure prompt payment. If there are any queries about the PO or invoice please contact the Virtual School Office on 01473 260818.

What information should be included on the invoice?

Invoices should be addressed to Suffolk County Council. The PO number must be included on the invoice otherwise our payments team will not be able to match the invoice to the relevant purchase order and may be unable to make the payment. Please note, names of pupils must not be included on invoices, pupil initials and year group are sufficient for the Virtual School Office to match the payment back to eligible pupils.

Where should invoices be sent?

The invoice should be sent to Suffolk County Council’s Payments Team, email address:  eoce.fin.invoices.2@workflow.mail.em3.oraclecloud.com.  Instructions are included on the Purchase Order. If you are unable to email your invoice it can be sent by post: Suffolk County Council, E-PROC C&I - Constantine House, 5 Constantine Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 2DH. On receipt of the invoice, the payment will be processed by the Payments Team.

Why does the school have to wait for a purchase order before sending the invoice each term?

Payment is not an automatic entitlement but dependent upon authorisation from the Virtual School. It is a requirement of our financial system that a purchase order should be created before the invoice is presented. It also helps to confirm that the correct children are being claimed for. Please contact the Virtual School Office with any queries about the initials or year groups of pupils on the PO and email.

Is there a deadline for submitting an invoice?

When an invoice is still outstanding two to three weeks after a PO has been raised, the Virtual School Office will contact the school with a reminder. Please note that if there is an open PO for PPG funding, no further POs will be raised by the Virtual School until the outstanding invoice has been received. If the Virtual School Office has not received a response to reminders and an invoice has not been received by a specified deadline, the PO will be closed, and the unclaimed funding may be reallocated.

I don’t think my school has received payment for an invoice submitted for PPG – what should I do?

Queries regarding the payment of an invoice can be made directly to Suffolk County Council’s Payments Team on 0345 850 0989 or to the Suffolk Virtual School Office on 01473 260818.

The payment details for my school have recently changed – what should I do?

Please contact the Virtual School Office as soon as possible to advise us of any changes to payment arrangements for your school so that we can ensure that all systems have been updated.

How do I find out if a pupil at my school is eligible for a CiC PPG payment?

If the query relates to a pupil’s eligibility for a PPG payment, please contact the Virtual School Office.

What are the arrangements for PPG for pupils in the care of other local authorities?

Please contact the Virtual School in the authority with responsibility for the pupil in care for information on their arrangements for paying PPG for their pupils in care.

What is a light touch PEP?

The DT may be asked to complete a ‘light touch PEP’ for pupils who have come into care or started at a new school towards the end of term. Although the submission or quality of a ‘light touch’ PEP will not determine the following term’s funding, a DT should still complete as much of the PEP as possible.

A pupil in the care of Suffolk County Council has recently joined my school, but this term’s PPG has already been paid to the child’s previous school – what should I do?

Please contact the child’s previous school to discuss whether unspent PPG funding could be transferred to your school.

How can I apply for ‘post LAC’ funding for a pupil who has left care?

PPG is also available for adopted children, those on a special guardianship order or a child arrangements order who were previously in care. Please note that these funds come directly to the school and are NOT part of the process for children in care described above. This funding comes directly to the school from central government and should be claimed by recording the pupil in the January school census.

If you have any other queries, please contact the Suffolk Virtual School on 01473 260818 or email suffolkvirtualschool@suffolk.gov.uk