Pastoral Support and the Service Pupil Premium

Pastoral Support and the Service Pupil Premium

Schools have a responsibility to provide appropriate individualised care and pastoral support for all children. We receive many enquiries about this, particularly from parents who are concerned about how this works across the devolved nations, or who feel that their school could be providing more effective support. We love to hear from people who have experienced great support so that we can showcase examples of effective practice. Please contact us if your child’s school is doing something we can share to improve practice in other schools.


England – Service Pupil Premium

Read a beginner’s guide to SPP and have your questions answered from the Autumn ’19 issue of Homeport magazine (p.14-15). (Note: the SPP has since increased to £310 per Service child)

The Service Pupil Premium (SPP) is extra funding for schools in England to support children and young people with parents in the Armed Forces. In order for your child to be eligible you need to inform your child(ren)’s school of your (or your partner’s) Service status before the annual school census, which is the third Thursday in January every year.*


*Note: There has been an update posted on The Autumn census (first Thursday in October) will now be the determining factor for SPP payments 2021/22 rather than the normal January.


Key facts:
  • The SPP is provided by the Department for Education (DfE), to State maintained schools, Free Schools and Academies in England who have children of Regular Armed Forces personnel among their pupil population to provide additional (mainly pastoral) support. Children of parents on Full Time Reserve Service (Full Commitment) also attract SPP.
  • Schools can claim for both SPP and PP for the same child. Guidance from the DfE is: ‘If they meet the criteria for both then they are entitled to both. A proportion of Service pupils have been receiving both for some time.’
  • The SPP is currently £310 per Service pupil and is paid directly to schools. It is not transferable between schools and does not move with the pupil when they leave the school.
  • Schools with Service children in Reception to Year 11 classes are eligible to receive the fund, but only if your child(ren)’s name appears on the school’s roll as being a Service child. This is why it’s of utmost importance for you to ensure that you have informed the school of your Service status.
  • A child will continue to attract SPP funding for up to a maximum of 6 years after the serving person has left the Service or at the end of Year 11, whichever comes first. Please be reminded to inform the school if the parent has left the Service.
  • It is possible for step children to receive SPP provided that you meet the criteria.


For more information on eligibility please see here. For examples of effective practice for schools see here. This booklet has been created by been produced by West Yorkshire Local Authorities to support schools develop their understanding of the Armed Forces Covenant, the Armed Forces Community and the Service Pupil Premium. It pulls together information that is already available for schools and parents into one place.


Or you can email: The Directorate Children and Young People (DCYP):


Support in Scotland

There is no Service Pupil Premium for Service children living in Scotland, but the Scottish government strategy for school funding takes into account factors such as deprivation, mobility and under achievement. Service families can register their status with their schools, so that the child’s record is flagged with an indicator. When Service families register, clusters of mobile families are highlighted and this attracts more funding for the school, which may be used to provide support.


The Royal Caledonian Education Trust is Scotland’s Armed Forces Children’s charity, and works with schools and families to help children to thrive. You can find out more about their work here.


The last official response from the Scottish Government on this subject is here. It was also raised by Jackie Baillie MSP in a Scottish Parliament Debate in late September 2018. We will continue to address this with the Scottish Government.


Support in Wales

The Service Pupil Premium is not available in Wales. You can find out more about the Supporting Service Children in Education Project by clicking here.


Support in Northern Ireland

Service children in Northern Ireland receive additional support under the provisions of the Common Funding Scheme. Qualifying pupils are those pupils in primary and post-primary schools whose father or mother is:

  • a member of the UK Armed Forces;
  • not normally resident in Northern Ireland;
  • assigned to Northern Ireland for a period scheduled to last no less than 2 years.


More information about education in Northern Ireland can be found on the Department of Education Northern Ireland website here. Information about the Common Funding Scheme can be found here.


Posted on: 12th May, 2016
Updated on: 5th January, 2021