Adoption UK calls on Government to extend Pupil Premium to older adopted children

Published: 22.04.14

Adoption UK is urging the Government to extend the Pupil Premium to all adopted children.
Adoption UK calls on Government to extend Pupil Premium to older adopted children

The majority of children adopted in England come from a background of abuse and neglect. Adoption UK knows from its membership that adopted children frequently experience significant difficulties in school due to early trauma they may have experienced and schools have a key role to play in building brighter futures.

New research conducted by Adoption UK shows that 80 per cent of adoptive parents say their child needs more support than their peers and nearly two thirds (64 per cent) feel the teenage years are or were the most difficult time for their child at school. Tragically, Adoption UK estimates that almost 15,000 older adopted children are missing out on additional support in education, due to the arbitrary Pupil Premium funding cut-off for those adopted before 2005.

Chief Executive of Adoption UK, Hugh Thornbery said:

"It is scandalous that so many adopted children will miss out on support just when they need it most. The arbitrary cut-off date will lead to the untenable situation where one sibling in a family qualifies for support and another sibling is denied support. Adoption UK is encouraged that the Government has recognised that adopted children have additional needs in school and is providing vital extra support to some of those children via the Pupil Premium initiative. We strongly urge the Government to extend this scheme to all adopted children so those who need it most don't miss out."

One adoptive parent, commenting on the lack of support, said:

"My two older children aged 16 and 12 have significant problems at school. The majority of my stress and worries as an adoptive parent involve education. On any school day I can take up to five phone calls about my children's behaviour issues and resulting consequences. I have spent many hours in meetings aiming to educate and support schools about what an adopted child's needs are."

Adoption UK knows from its membership that an adopted child's early life experience has a lasting impact, which is not overcome by adoption alone and that support is vital. However, more than three quarters (76 per cent) of parents surveyed said that people expect their adopted child to do well in school because they are now in a stable, loving family.

The right support in school can be transformative for adopted children. An overwhelming 96 per cent of parents surveyed felt that additional funding could help teachers and staff to understand the additional needs of adoptive children.

One adopter whose children received support said:

"Both my adopted children enjoy school, but have struggled with low concentration, low self-esteem, poor social skills, lack of empathy, aggression. However, both have benefitted from positive play, individual education plans targeting both social and academic skills. Both are making fair progress in all aspects of school life, despite their early life experiences."