April is the month in which Pupil Premium Plus funding starts winging its way towards schools, local authorities and virtual schools across England. But what is this funding for, and how can it be put to good use?

Pupil Premium Plus (PP+) is allocated to support the educational achievement of looked-after and previously looked-after children, including adopted children. It currently stands at £2300 per year, per eligible child.

While PP+ for looked-after children is administered by the virtual school in each local authority, the PP+ for previously looked-after children goes directly to schools. Part of the new statutory duties for Designated Teachers for Previously Looked-After Children includes involvement in planning for the use of PP+, and supporting parents and carers to be part of the decision-making process.

There is an important distinction between Pupil Premium, which is designed to overcome the difficulties caused by economic disadvantage, and PP+, which aims to address disadvantages caused by adverse early experiences, time in the care system, and the impact of missed education, trauma and ongoing challenges faced by children who can no longer live with their birth families.

We asked some of our members how PP+ had successfully been used to help their adopted child or children in school.  Here is what they told us:

· Using PP+ to pay for a child’s therapist to come into school and train members of staff so that the school could work as a team with the parents and therapist to meet the child’s complex needs.

· Putting ‘drawing and talking’ in place for an adopted 6-year-old who carries a lot of anxiety because of the difficulties and challenges faced by her older brother.

· Funding a one-to-one learning support assistant which has enabled an adopted child with complex needs to continuing attending his mainstream school while the search for a suitable special school goes on.

· Providing training in attachment and trauma for all school staff.

· Using PP+ to pay for a 5-day summer school programme at a child’s new school to help them with the transition before starting there in year 7.

· Funding a key person to ‘meet and greet’ a child with severe separation anxiety at the start of the school day.

· Providing extra staff support during breakfast club so that the child has an easier transition to the start of the school day.

· Enabling a teenager to participate in extra-curricular sporting activities that boost her self-esteem and increase her sense of inclusion and belonging to the school community.

· Purchasing games and sensory activities that children can use at playtime to support them into structured play and minimise disruption.

How is your school using PP+? Tell us about it in the comments field below.