Service Personnel Families: Pupil Premium

Defence – in the House of Commons on 21st October 2019.

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Photo of Mary Creagh Mary Creagh Chair, Environmental Audit Committee

What steps he is taking with the Secretary of State for Education to ensure that armed forces personnel with children eligible for the service pupil premium inform their child’s school of that eligibility.

Photo of Johnny Mercer Johnny Mercer Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)

I have already met the Schools Minister on this issue. We work hard to get the message out there through payslips, posters and an advertisement campaign. We can all, as MPs, play a role in making sure the families of those who serve receive the benefits they are entitled to.

Photo of Mary Creagh Mary Creagh Chair, Environmental Audit Committee

There are over 400 serving armed forces personnel in the Wakefield district, and they make a huge contribution to our nation’s defence, but there are concerns from the Army Families Federation that the service pupil premium is not being used properly by schools to improve pastoral outcomes for service children. What discussions has the Minister had with schools on guidance?

Photo of Johnny Mercer Johnny Mercer Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)

I am very keen that the service pupil premium is used in the way that it has been designed for—pastoral care and things like that—and if the hon. Lady has evidence that that is not taking place, I invite her to write to me and we can look into it.

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey Independent, Wantage

When the Minister next comes to visit the Royal Military College in Shrivenham in my constituency, will he pop into Watchfield primary school, where he will see a brilliant primary school that educates children from all over the world—the children of those of many nationalities who study at the military defence college—and when he gets back will he ask the Secretary State why the Ministry of Defence gives no financial help to this primary school for the language teaching it has to do for those children?

Photo of Johnny Mercer Johnny Mercer Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)

I pay tribute to the school in question, which does a great job of looking after the children of those who come and serve at Shrivenham, and I am more than happy to look into the case my right hon. Friend raises.