Next year, more than half a million additional children will qualify for the Pupil Premium. In Hampshire, 27,152 children are expected to be eligible, meaning that Hampshire schools are set to benefit from an extra £16.2 million, over £600,000 of this in Andover, to support disadvantaged pupils. The Pupil Premium will be extending its reach to cover any child that has been registered for Free School Meals (FSM) in the past six years. For 2012-13, the Premium will be worth £1.25 billion in total.
These are England’s most disadvantaged pupils, including looked after children, and they are set to benefit from £600 each after the Department for Education announced next year’s Pupil Premium will increase by £112 for each pupil. For too long, social background has been a deciding factor in a child’s chances for the future. As a Liberal Democrat, I believe that in a fair society, a Government should work to overcome this disadvantage and help children reach their full potential. Children who have been eligible for Free School Meals at any point in their school career have consistently lower educational attainment than those who have never been eligible.
Of students gaining three As at A-level in 2008, 30 per cent were privately educated, whereas only 0.5 per cent were eligible for Free School Meals. That is why thanks to Liberal Democrats, the Coalition Government is doing the right thing by supporting schools with additional money to support children from less well-off backgrounds. This will help whole classes work better together and move forward faster.
Launching the new scheme Liberal Democrat Children’s Minister, Sarah Teather said “As we come to the end of the second term of the Pupil Premium we are seeing across the country how these extra funds are making a difference. Additional tuition, better IT resources and closer work with parents are all examples of how the Pupil Premium is being used to support the most disadvantaged pupils.”
“That’s why I’m so pleased that, next year, we’ll be extending the Pupil Premium to another half a million children, and increasing the money that schools get to £600 per pupil. This means that, as a result of Liberal Democrats in government, more children will get a better start in life”.
To hear more on this initiative listen to the interview I did with Faye Marsh of Andover Sound at