Northumberland Virtual School’s Pupil Premium Plus Policy has been revised for 2020-21.
For 2019-20 the Virtual School retained £700 of each grant to be used centrally and the remaining £1600 was dispersed conditionally to schools to support their eligible looked after children. Schools could request funding in addition to the basic grant allocation and we ensured that funding followed pupils who change schools and local authority areas. Funding was also available for ‘pupils in crisis’ and who needed urgent short-term education support and provision.
There is strong evidence of positive impact of the additional PP+ funding which was held centrally and which meant that the Virtual School could provide educational psychology support, therapies, Thrive training for Designated Teachers, teaching intervention and targeted careers guidance.
Regarding the PP+ funding dispersed to schools, there is some evidence of termly reviews of Outcomes in PEPs starting to emerge. However, there is still insufficient evidence being provided by schools that PP+ is being used to identify and address under-achievement and to really accelerate progress. Too many PEPs are not yet good enough and a low proportion of Designated Teacher Annual Reports are being sent to the Virtual School Headteacher with information about the positive impact of PP+ included.
Subject to confirmation by the DfE, for the financial year 2020-21 the PP+ grant for looked after children will stay the same at £2300 per eligible pupil. The Virtual School intends to increase the top slice of each grant from 1st April 2020 by £150 to £850. This will enable us to sustain levels of staffing in the Virtual School and increase educational psychology and teaching capacity so that the right support reaches individual looked after children when they most need it. This policy is aligned with the arrangements in neighbouring local authorities.
Your feedback on the draft policy is welcome. Please email the Virtual School Headteacher, Jane Walker (Jane.Walker@northumberland.gov.uk) with your comments by Friday 14th February 2020.
Northumberland’s Pupil Premium Plus Policy will be approved by the MALAP (Multi-agency looked after partnership) which has Terms of Reference as the governing body of the Virtual School and is accountable to the Council’s Safeguarding and Corporate Parenting Advisory Group.