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All of the children in the sample were eligible for pupil premium plus or pupil premium funding; either because they were a looked after child, or had been adopted or had left care with a Special Guardianship Order or Residence Order; or because they were in receipt of free school meals. Pupil premium funding is for eligible children to improve their educational and personal outcomes. It is not intended that the additional funding should be used to back-fill the general school budget nor is it intended that the funding should be used to support other groups of pupils, such as those with special educational needs or those who are low attaining (Department for Education, 2014).

On the whole, there were two approaches to utilising the additional funding from pupil premium: there were those schools which tailored the additional resources to the individual child; and those which combined all pupil premium funding to provide whole-class/whole-school interventions. The quotation from a school staff member below refers to a child who benefitted from the individual child approach. Her school paid for her to attend extra-curricular activities such as dance classes outside of school to help her increase her confidence:

[Child] is one of the children that finds it quite difficult to make friends, so using the pupil premium money we've actually enrolled her in an off-site dance school, so

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that she can actually take part, and do dancing and different things. I was

speaking to the dance school a couple of weeks ago, and they said that now she's starting to talk to them and to the other children, so her confidence and interaction is starting to come on.

(Staff member at study child’s school: age eight interview)

(Girl: medium risk at of suffering harm at birth; low risk at age three; high risk at age five; permanently separated at age eight – unsustained parental change) In contrast, another school combined their entire pupil premium funding to pay for specific whole-school or whole-class interventions:

We've got an awful lot of children funded through pupil premium, so we're very clever with that, and even though the pupil premium is attached around that child, what we do is, we're very, very careful to look to see what other children would benefit from that intervention. So we've got a very tight entry onto an intervention programme, and any intervention we're running is very, very clearly written down what it is, who's doing it, where's it happening, when's it happening, when's it starting, entry and exit data, because we need to know, we're coming up to the end of this term in December, and we need to measure the impact of that

intervention. If that intervention doesn't impact, I don't want it, we don't want it in school, because it's a waste of money, it's a waste of time, it's a waste of the children's time. So it is about being really smart.

(Staff member at study child’s school)

However, although the schools welcomed the additional funding from pupil premium, for some it was not enough to adequately meet the needs of individual children. For instance a staff member at a child’s school who had substantial emotional and behavioural needs explained:

He [child] would not get a statement, or education healthcare plans as they are now known, because the thresholds are so high and all the top up money that we used to apply for children like him is gone as well, so we're meeting his teaching assistant out of our school budget. Obviously he gets the enhanced pupil premium money, but it doesn't go anywhere near to cover that. It has a huge impact on our budget, because it's not just the teaching assistant time, it's the time the class teacher's spending with him, and the learning mentor's time as well and as a school we've made the decision to fund those things, but it costs us a huge amount, and we're not getting any funding for him.

(Staff member at study child’s school: age eight interview)

(Boy: high risk of suffering harm at birth; permanently separated by age three) The majority of the teachers and SENCOs interviewed expressed concerns that they did not feel sufficiently knowledgeable about the most effective ways of supporting children with severe emotional and behavioural difficulties, particularly where they had

experienced historical abuse or neglect. The schools had limited access to child mental health services, so they were often left to support these very vulnerable children without

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adequate budget or specialist skills to do so. For instance a school staff member explained:

Because of his [child’s] needs, we don't know where to go to get support. Dealing with it on a day-to-day basis and not knowing if you're doing the right thing and not knowing what the current kind of best practice is makes it harder.

(Staff member at study child’s school: age eight interview)

(Boy: high risk of suffering harm at birth; permanently separated by age three) In addition, the enhanced pupil premium funding does not entitle children who have remained with their birth parents, but may have experienced difficulties in the past similar to those children who have been adopted, to the same level of services. Therefore

entitlement to services should be based on the individual needs of the children, rather than their legal status.

Conclusion

The children’s schools were able to meet their complex emotional and behavioural needs with varying degrees of success. The table below shows enabling features of the

children’s schools’ environments contrasted with those features which were less successful in supporting the children.

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Table 10: Enabling and disabling school environments

Enabling Disabling

Strong home-school links. Schools and parents/carers working separately, contrasting views and lack

Pupil premium funding not used in a tailored or structured way. attainment static and not used to inform appropriate and tailored individual children from the class and provide instructions for tasks.

• The children were more likely to attend less effective schools, as reflected in Ofsted judgements, than would be expected nationally. The children’s schools were also more likely to be larger than average (15/26:58%); have above average numbers of children with SEN (18/26: 69%); and have above average numbers of children eligible for pupil premium funding (21/26: 81%).

• The high level of deprivation in the surrounding areas of many of the schools and the high number of children with additional support needs made the task of

teaching more complex. Some schools achieved this task more successfully than others.

• A total of 25 interviews were carried out across 16 schools, with nine SENCOs; 13 class teachers; and three head or deputy head teachers.