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School-led tutoring for looked-after children: guidance for local authorities and virtual school heads

Overview

This guidance provides additional information to local authorities and virtual school heads (in VSH) on how to manage the school-led tutoring grant in relation to looked-after children (LAC).

This guidance should be read in conjunction with the following:

School-led tutoring grant

School-led tutoring (SLT) grant is part of the tuition offer from the National Tutoring Program (NTP) and it is intended to help close the education gap which widened as a result of COVID-19.

Schools, local authorities and virtual school heads have received a ring-fenced SLT grant for pupils eligible for the pupil premium in years 1 to 11. They can source their own tutoring provision to support disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils to catch up on their learning using either internal school staff or external tutoring provision.

Local authorities have also been provided with SLT funding for them LAC pupils in years 1 to 11 for pupils eligible for the pupil premium.

This guidance sets out how we expect local authorities to use this SLT funding for LAC pupils, and should be read in conjunction with the documents linked to in the overview.

Funding allocations

In the September and December 2021 payments of the SLT grant, local authorities received an allocation based on 60% of the LAC pupils in their care. In the April or May payment, local authorities and virtual school heads will receive extra funding in addition to their original allocation. This means that funding will be provided for an additional 16% of pupils, bringing the total to around 76% of pupils eligible for pupil premium.

Allocations broken down by local authorities are set out in the SLT allocations. The allocation for each local authority can be found in theLA summary’ tab, under column F titled ‘LAC caress that LA‘. This sets out the specific amounts of funding for LAC pupils.

Allocations are calculated on the basis that:

  • for the academic year 2021 to 2022, the grant provided has been calculated to cover 75% of the cost of tuition, based on an average cost of £18 per hour and a pupil receiving a package of 15 hours of tuition, totaling £202.50 per pupil
  • from the average cost of £18 per hour, per pupil, we will provide a maximum of £13.50 for tutoring and the in VSH will be required to contribute the remaining £4.50 from their pupil premium plus funding
  • in VSH can offer provision at a lower rate than £18, in which case we will fund 75% of that cost or, if needed, at a higher unit rate than £18 but they will need to cover the costs beyond £13.50

Additional weighting has been applied to the following institutions in recognition of the higher per pupil costs they face for tutoring. Eligible pupils who attend any of these institutions will receive a higher rate of funding.

Institutions eligible for the higher rate of funding include:

  • local authority-maintained special schools
  • special academies and free schools
  • special schools not maintained by a local authority, including independent special schools where the placement is funded by the local authority
  • pupil referral units
  • alternative provision academies and free schools
  • local authority-maintained hospital schools and academies
  • SEND units within mainstream schools

Funding for these settings is based on the average cost of £47 per hour. We will provide a maximum of £35.25 per pupil per hour and in VSH will be required to contribute the remaining £11.75 from their pupil premium plus budget.

Pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) who attend a mainstream school are only eligible for the standard rate of funding.

From September 2021 to April 2022, where the department was not able to identify the type of school placement the LAC pupil was attending, the local authority received the £18 per hour unit cost for tuition. However, from April, local authorities will receive a higher rate of funding for these LAC pupils (£47 per hour).

Conditions of funding

The full conditions of grant are published separately which includes that:

  • allocations in the academic year 2021 to 2022 are ring-fenced for expenditure on SLT only and must be used within that academic year
  • use of the grant is voluntary, however, should a local authority decide not to use some or all of it SLT grant allocated to them, the ESFA will recover the unspent amount back as an overpayment
  • the funding is provided to cover 75% of the anticipated costs, local authorities must contribute 25% of the costs from their own budgets, with a maximum of £13.50 per hour for mainstream pupils and a maximum of £35.25 per hour for pupils in special schools
  • local authorities must complete and return a year-end statement detailing expenditure even if they choose not to use all or some of the SLT grant
  • local authorities will need to complete the year-end statement via an online form to ESFA which will become available in June 2022. The form should be completed before the end of September. Further information about this process will be made available in June 2022

We understand that tuition provision is a routine intervention which is commonly used by in VSH for their LAC pupils and is funded by their pupil premium plus funding. However, any tuition funded by the SLT grant must be in addition to this provision.

Use of SLT for LAC pupils and the role of virtual school heads

We expect local authorities to pass the SLT funding for them LAC pupils to their VSH. The VSH should decide, in line with the SLT guidance, how best to use the funding to provide tuition support for the pupils they are responsible for, working with relevant schools as necessary. Tuition support can include interventions which support improving educational attainment, for example, English for speakers of other languages ​​(ESOL) where subjects such as maths and English may not be appropriate.

It will be the responsibility of the VSH to:

  • decide which LAC pupils to support, how many hours tuition they will receive and the subjects – we expect that this will be done in close cooperation with appropriate schools as necessary
  • comply with the conditions of grant, in particular:
    • the requirement to contribute 25% of the cost of tuition
    • the requirement to comply with the data collection requirements by completing the year-end statement

We understand that in some cases in VSH will want the flexibility to pass on funding directly to the relevant schools who will be able to arrange tuition provision locally. However, it is important to remember that VSH will still be responsible for contributing the required 25% and completing the year-end statement to report the use of the grant (not the school).

Tuition over the 2022 summer holiday

Local authorities and in VSH can choose to offer tutoring provision via all 3 routes of the NTP over the summer holidays, allowing more pupils to benefit from targeted support.

For more information on summer provision that can be offered via Tuition Partners and Academic Mentors, use the FAQs on the NTP website:

• Tuition Partners: FAQs

• Academic Mentors: FAQs

Data collection via the school-led tutoring year-end statement

In June 2022, ESFA will release the school-led tutoring year-end statement, and all local authorities (via their in VSH) will be expected to complete and return the statement detailing how much tuition has been delivered for LAC pupils in relation to the SLT grant provided. This is a mandatory return.

While the final form is not currently available, please help in VSH prepare, we will ask for:

  • the total amount your local authority has spent on school-led tutoring for LAC pupils in the academic year 2021 to 2022 (by mainstream funded pupils and specialist provision funded pupils)
  • the total number of LAC pupils who have received tuition through the school-led tutoring grant in the academic year 2021 to 2022
  • the total number of hours of funded tuition through the school-led tutoring grant funding in the academic year 2021 to 2022 (hours of mainstream funded LAC pupils and specialist funded LAC pupils)
  • confirmation that the information outlined is correct and you have met the conditions of the grant

Local authorities and in VSH must complete their year-end statement in September 2022 if they are providing tuition over the summer holidays.

Where local authorities or in VSH choose not to provide tuition over the summer, we strongly recommend that they submit their year-end statement as soon as possible. The form, guidance and further assistance will be available in June 2022.

Calculating overpayments

Where funding is not used fully (or at all) it will be recovered from the local authority by ESFA as an underspend after the end of this academic year (2021 to 2022) and this will be offset against future payments.

We will use the information provided in the year-end statement to calculate this. Refer to the ‘calculating overpayments’ section in the SLT guidance for further information including detailed examples which set out how overpayment will be calculated in different scenarios.

Audit

in VSH are expected to keep records of all payments related to the SLT grant. These will be required in the event of an audit. Any audit will occur between the department and the local authority.

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