IF you’re an Army family with a child in a state school in England, you have until 16 January 2014 to notify your school of their eligibility for the Service Pupil Premium (SPP), which helps schools to support the unique challenges children with parents in the Armed Forces can often face.

State schools, academies and free schools that have Service children in reception to year 11 can receive the funding, which is designed to assist the school to provide mainly non-educational support, known as pastoral care, to Service children. The SPP is currently £300 per Service child, paid directly to the school.

Schools will only be able to claim the SPP if you declare your child’s Service status to your school’s head teacher before the annual school census.

The SPP has been put to good use in many schools across England. For example, South Farnborough Infant School in Hampshire has used the funding to purchase books for their library which have been written by parents who had previously been deployed.

The school is also setting up a “nurture” room where Service children can meet each other to talk through their experiences or concerns, with a member of staff known as a “smile” mentor.

See our article Spending it wisely (Army&You autumn 2013) for more great examples of how schools put the funds to good use.

For further information on the SPP, visit http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/pupilsupport/pastoralcare/a00212882/service-children