Rogerson and Teather: pupil premium will help all children

Today the coalition Government announced that plans for a Pupil Premium will go ahead, targeting funding at schools that take pupils from deprived backgrounds.

The premium, a key part of the Liberal Democrats’ 2010 election manifesto, will provide additional per pupil funding on top of the existing funding provided to schools, and will be spent as individual schools choose.

Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Committee for Education, Dan Rogerson said:

Labour’s unequal education system left too many children falling behind.

The Liberal Democrats made clear during the election campaign that a Pupil Premium targeted at the most disadvantaged pupils was an absolute priority.

This will allow schools to help all pupils in the way that they see fit, which could be reducing class sizes or providing more one-to-one tuition and catch-up classes.

This is vital if we are to give all children the fair start in life that they deserve.

Children’s Minister Sarah Teather said:

For too long social background has been a deciding factor in a child’s achievement and future prospects. In a fair society, it’s the Government’s responsibility to close the gulf in achievement, where the poorest children are almost three times less likely to leave school with five good GCSEs than their richer classmates.

That’s why I’m delighted we are today announcing a new pupil premium, which will give extra funding to schools to help them tackle the inequalities that have been a part of our state system for far too long. Thousands of children will finally be getting the extra support they need to succeed.

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  • This sounds like very good news, but it will only make a difference if the amount is significant and if the money is genuinely new.

    “This will allow schools to help all pupils in the way that they see fit, which could be reducing class sizes or providing more one-to-one tuition and catch-up classes.”

    Labour funded 1:1 tuition for 300,000 pupils in 2009 -10 and 600,000 in 2010-11, a disproportionate amount of which was / is being spent on disadvantaged pupils. If this money is taken away to provide the premium then noone will benefit, especially if schools then divert money away from tuition which is proven to work towards reducing class sizes which all of the international evidence demonstrates makes little or no difference unless the classes are reduced below 15 (which is very unlikely to happen).

  • If the criteria for the Pupil Premium is to be eligibility for free school meals we can see why the Blue and Orange Tories abandoned Labour’s commitment to extending eligibility for free school meals to 600,000 poorer children. Such poorer children will be denied not only their free school dinner but their Pupil Premium as well.

    And where is the two and a half billion to fund this to come from? Will it be new money or will it come from another vital part of the already overstretched education budget? If so we will be witnessing yet another Blue and Orange Tory con.

  • New Red Guard 28th Jul '10 - 4:34pm

    The pupil premium will have to be substantial to make up for the scandalous academies bill, which will take money from my kids’ schools, and give it to ‘outstanding’ academies.

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