Almost 15,000 adopted children, many of them teenagers, will miss out on a £1,900 “pupil premium” for publicly funded schools in England, to provide extra help for them, according to the support group Adoption UK.
The payments will only be for those adopted after 2005 but the organisation wants the scheme to be extended to all such children up to the age of 16. It argues most had been adopted after suffering abuse and neglect.
“The arbitrary cut-off date will lead to the situation where one sibling in a family qualifies for support and another sibling is denied support,” said the group’s chief executive, Hugh Thornbery. A pupil premium, for children entitled to free school meals and those in care, was introduced by the coalition government in 2011, and extended to adopted children this year.
From April 2014, schools in England can receive the pupil premium for children adopted from care or who left care under a Special Guardianship Order (SGO) on or after 30 December 2005. Schools can also claim the pupil premium for children who left care under a Residence Order (RO) on or after 14 October 1991.
To claim the pupil premium for adopted children, and those who are the subject of a SGO and RO, parents will need to inform the school and provide supporting evidence, for example, the Adoption (Court) Order.
Eligible pupils should then be recorded in the January 2014 School Census under the new category ‘Adopted from Care’. The data collected will be used to calculate, alongside other data (eg, FSM Ever6), the 2014 to 2015 pupil premium allocations for schools.
Although changes to the pupil premium have been widely communicated, schools may wish to ensure their parents are aware of the changes, particularly as adoptive parents will need to self-declare that their child was adopted (or the subject of an SRO/RO) before 16 January 2014 when the school census must be completed. Schools should reassure parents that the information about their child will be treated in the strictest confidence.