The Government’s ‘Pupil Premium’ grant, which is a reallocation of existing school funds, is doing the opposite of what the LibDems originally wanted it to do - because the Conservatives have changed the way funding is allocated, areas like Reading with higher levels of child poverty are losing out.|
Last year the Pupil Premium was calculated mainly on the number of children having free school meals, but it is now calculated on the number who have had school meals at any time during the last six years, which has meant that wealthy Wokingham and Windsor and Maidenhead are seeing a doubling of their grant at the expense of areas like Reading which is getting a much smaller increase. Because over all schools funding is staying flat this means that Reading's children will lose out on funding.
Labour’s John Ennis, Lead Councillor for Education & Children’s Services, says: “It's ironic that the Pupil Premium – which was proclaimed as helping the most disadvantaged children - is now actually benefiting wealthy areas at the expense of areas with much higher levels of child poverty. If I had voted LibDem in the last election I would be feeling cheated by a government which is clearly committed to unfairness."
The pattern across the country is the same. The area with the lowest figure for children living in poverty is Rutland with 8%, and their grant is going up 126%. The highest figure for children living in poverty is Tower Hamlets with 51%, and their grant went up just 60% - less than half of the increase in Rutland.
Pupil premium: who's getting the benefit?