A Cotswolds councillor has welcomed a scheme promoted by the coalition government that will pump nearly £1,000,000 of extra funding into schools in the district.
The extra cash – amounting to £900 per child under the Pupil Premium initiative – will be used to help children from less privileged backgrounds reach their full educational potential. All children registered for free school meals in the last six years qualify and the money will be given to their school heads who can decide how to spend it on their behalf.
The extra money comes into effect from 1 April. Many schools across the district stand to benefit from the scheme. Bourton primary school is receiving an extra £39,600 whilst Chipping Campden School is receiving £78,300. Andoversford Primary School gets £7,200, the Cotswold Academy £101,700 and Northleach Primary School £10,800.
The Pupil Premium was a major manifesto commitment by the Liberal Democrats at the 2010 general election, playing a key role in the negotiations that led to the coalition agreement.
Original plans for an extra £430 per pupil have now been boosted, pushing the amount paid per qualifying child to £900.
News of the extra money for the Cotswolds comes after Schools Minister, David Laws, recently announced that the total Pupil Premium funding from next week will rise to £1.65bn, more than double the amount in 2011-12. It will rise again each year until 2014-15 when it will be worth £2.5bn.
Now, councillors are encouraging all schools to ensure that every child who qualifies is registered for the scheme so that they receive the maximum funding.
Cotswold District Council Lib Dem Leader, Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (Churn Valley), said he was encouraged by the extra cash for local schools.
“Though the Cotswolds is seen as an affluent area full of wealthy weekenders, the truth is that there are pockets of deprivation in the district, particularly in some of the rural areas.
“With low average wages and sky-high house prices, it is no wonder that so many children qualify for free school meals. This additional help for hard-pressed schools is extremely welcome.”
“The Pupil Premium is extra support for the children who need it the most, whether it is catch-up classes, one-to-one tuition, extra IT support – whatever the school thinks best.”
“We now look forward to working with our schools to help overcome any barriers to achievement that some of the pupils in our community currently face.”
Note: The complete list of pupil premium figures is publicly available at the Department for Education website.