Department’s £3.3m set to improve borough education

By Ian Dipple Friday 03 January 2014 Updated: 06/01 13:59

SCHOOLS across Redditch are to get more than £3.3million to help some of the borough’s most disadvantaged children.

The Department of Education has increased the amount it spends on the Pupil Premium for 2014/15 from £900 to £1,300 for primary school pupils, £935 for secondary school students and £1,900 for all looked after children.

It means next year’s allocation for borough schools has increased by over £500,000 on 2013/14 and in total more than £8.6million of extra funding has been ploughed into Redditch schools between 2011 and 2015.

The money is designed to support the 2,910 disadvantaged pupils in Redditch and help close the attainment gap between them and their peers.

The news followed a visit to the town by Schools Minister David Laws who was shown around Woodrow First School and RSA Arrow Vale where the Pupil Premium is helping to raise the attainment levels of children.

Figures released by the Green Sward Lane school show the extra cash has helped increase the number of disadvantaged pupils achieving five A* to C grades at GCSE including English and Maths from 20 per cent in 2009/10 to 49 per cent in 2012/13, while the number making the expected progress in English stands at 84 per cent compared to a national target of 56 per cent.

Speaking to the Standard Mr Laws said the Pupil Premium would rise every year during the current Parliament but he also pledged to sort out the overall funding situation for schools to make fairer a system which sees schools in Worcestershire receive about £1,000 per pupil less than those in neighbouring Birmingham.

But he did not give a timetable for when it would be implemented, however it has already been announced it will not happen until after the next General Election.

“It is going to happen, you have got a government that has got the determination to sort this out and although in some ways at a time of austerity it is more difficult to do these things than arguably when you have lots of new money coming into the system, because you can direct more of that money to the schools that are underfunded, actually getting fair funding in an environment where budgets are constrained is even more important because the schools that are receiving low levels of funding really in this environment are squeezed much more whereas those that are historically funded very generously actually find they are not in a pressured situation.”

Redditch MP Karen Lumley added: “This is excellent news for disadvantaged pupils and their families in Redditch and will give local schools the support they need to ensure that every child, regardless of their background, can fulfil their potential.”

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