School spending on looked after children discussed

Are children benefiting from all the cash schools receive on their behalf?
Are children benefiting from all the cash schools receive on their behalf?

The accountability of academies to provide for their vulnerable children has been discussed by Wakefield's children, young people and skills committee.

As of March 2018, there were 562 children in the care of the local authority in Wakefield, the numbers having risen for the last five years.

Schools are given a Pupil Premium Grant (PPG) of £2,300 per looked-after child registered with them.

The money is often spent on specialist teaching, transport to school, extra-curricular activities or to allow that pupil to take part in field trips.

The funding is there to raise the attainment of that particular disadvantaged pupil and give them the best possible chance of success.

Speaking at a committee meeting on Wednesday, Sally Kincaid from the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said: "If the money is coming in for a particular child to an academy, what is stopping them from spending the money on something else?"

Maintained secondary schools are bound to ensure that all of the grant is spent on raising the attainment of that particular child.

Academies however, which make up 95 per cent of the mainstream secondary schools in the Wakefield district, are run independently of the local authority, and are free to allocate the funding they receive in whichever way they see fit.

The committee's deputy chair, Kathy Scott, said she was confident that the PPG is being spent appropriately by academies in the district.

Coun Scott said: "I have been working closely with a few academies recently and I can tell you that they spend that money and often more on their (Pupil Premium) children."