Adopted children are included by the DfE within a wider group collectively referred to as post-LAC (looked after child). Other children within this group include those who left local authority (LA) care on a special guardianship order (SGO) or child arrangements order (CAO). All children in these groups are eligible for post-LAC premium funding.
Similar to other types of Pupil Premium, the purpose of post-LAC premium is to raise educational attainment and close the gap between these children and their peers.
What are the current eligibility criteria?
Post-LAC pupil premium for 2019 to 2020 is allocated for each child recorded in the January 2019 school census and alternative provision census who:
- was looked after by an English or Welsh local authority immediately before being adopted
- left local authority care on an SGO or CAO (previously known as a residence order (RO)).
Please note that children who have been adopted by a step parent, or adopted from overseas are not eligible for post-LAC pupil premium.
At what age is post-LAC premium available?
Children who meet the eligibility criteria can be in any year group from reception to Year 11.
Why is there a post-LAC premium?
The DfE's view is that "Many children from the groups described above will have experienced grief and loss and will have had traumatic experiences in their early lives. 72% of those adopted in 2013-14 entered care due to abuse or neglect. Their needs do not change overnight and they do not stop being vulnerable just because they are in a loving home. Their experiences in early life can have a lasting impact which can affect the child many years after adoption. We therefore believe that teachers and schools have a vital role to play in helping these children emotionally, socially and educationally by providing specific support, to raise their attainment and address their wider needs."
How does a school know that a child is adopted?
Schools will not necessarily be aware that they have adopted/SGO/CAO children on roll and rely on parents to inform them of their child’s status. In order to trigger post-LAC premium, schools need to have parental permission to register a child as adopted on their school census return in January. They also need to ask parents to confirm their child was in LA care in England or Wales, and provide evidence, for example, a copy of the adoption order.
Will parents and guardians who self-declared last year need to self-declare again?
Schools need to be aware that parents and guardians will need to self-declare again if their child has moved school since January of last year.
How much post-LAC pupil premium will a school receive and when is this paid?
The post-LAC pupil premium amount for 2019 to 2020 is available in the pupil premium: conditions of grant 2019 to 2020 guidance.
The guidance also contains details of when the pupil premium will be paid.
Can the post-LAC premium be paid retrospectively?
No, this is not possible. Post-LAC premium can only be paid from the point at which a child’s new status is recorded on the school census. Schools must make sure (in accordance with parents’ wishes) that a child is recorded as post-LAC on each consecutive census. School admin officers and bursars can take a lead role in this.
How should schools record a child as being adopted on their census return?
There is a specific adoption recording process to follow. There is a statutory requirement that on adoption (after the adoption order has been granted not when a child has been placed for adoption) a child must be issued with a new unique pupil number (UPN).
Which types of schools receive post-LAC premium?
Funding is paid, regardless of type of school to all mainstream schools and non-maintained special schools.
What is the difference between LAC and post-LAC Pupil Premium?
The virtual school head within each LA is responsible for managing arrangements for the LAC pupil premium. This includes making decisions about the amount that is passported to schools, together with the frequency of payments. This is not the case for the post-LAC premium, which is paid directly to schools. It is schools, and not the virtual school who are responsible for ensuring that the post-LAC premium is spent in accordance with the conditions of grant.
Do pupils adopted from care in post-16 education get the post-LAC premium?
No. The pupil premium is additional funding for schools and they attract it for eligible pupils between reception and Year 11.
What happens to the post-LAC premium if a child moves school?
Schools are not obliged to pass post-LAC funding on to a new setting if a post-LAC child leaves the school. Any decisions about passing funding on are a matter for the schools involved. Schools are, however, reminded that they are accountable for ways in which they use this resource to improve pupil outcomes, in line with the conditions of grant. Transfer of funding is a matter for discussion between schools and where appropriate, alternative providers.
What happens in cases where a child is dual rolled at a school and an alternative provider such as an education centre or pupil referral unit (PRU)?
Funding is paid to the school where the pupil is solely registered. In the event of dual registration funding will go to the main school and the education centre or PRU will need to liaise with the main school to request a transfer of a proportion of the funding.
Do schools have to spend the additional funding they are getting on the individual child adopted from care?
The DFE states: "The pupil premium is additional funding given to schools to improve the educational and personal outcomes for pupils who have been adopted from care, including (but not limited to) their attainment. It is not intended that the additional funding should be used to back-fill the general school budget nor is it the policy intention that the funding should be used to support other groups of pupils, such as (for example) those with special educational needs or who are low attaining."
The funding is not ring-fenced and is not for individual children – so the Department would not necessarily expect the school to spend £1900 on every child adopted from care on roll at the school. This is partially because a child may have left the school and new pupils may have joined but also because a school is best placed to determine how the additional funding can be deployed to have the maximum impact. For example, a school may decide to train their staff in recognising and responding to attachment-related issues; or that a particular adopted child needs tailored support that is in excess of the £1900 the school has received. Alternatively, they may decide that a whole class intervention is appropriate and that other pupils that attract the pupil premium will benefit from this, alongside other pupils who are not deemed to be disadvantaged."
What role do parents and guardians have in terms of post-LAC pupil premium?
The DFE states: "The role of parents and guardians in their child’s education is crucial and we expect schools will want to engage with them about the education of the pupils on their roll, irrespective of whether they attract the pupil premium. However, we would hope that schools would want to take particular advantage of this relationship with regards to formerly looked after children as the school may have only become aware of the child’s status when they are told this by the child’s parent ahead of the School Census. They may be unfamiliar with the detail of any barriers to learning individual children may be facing as a result of their history. Schools should, of course, be mindful of the sensitivities that may exist around the child’s history and ways in which their experiences prior to leaving care are affecting the child currently."
What is the accountability around the post-LAC premium?
Ofsted inspections look closely at the progress and attainment of disadvantaged pupils and the gap between them and their peers. There is also a legal requirement for schools to publish information online about their pupil premium funding allocation, how it has been used and the impact it has had on disadvantaged pupils.