"Pupil Premium" Will Boost Wimbledon Schools

Cash to improve education for the disadvantaged

Schools in Wimbledon are to get an extra £657,000 between them as part of the Government's Pupil Premium scheme to help improve education for disadvantaged youngsters.

The scheme will see schools across England getting an extra £488 for each child on their roll who is receiving free school meals.

The money is on top of all funding allocated to each school and will be given to head teachers to spend at their discretion.

Across the borough of Merton, schools will receive £1.875m, with £657,000 for schools inside the Wimbledon constituency area.

The final Pupil Premium figures were announced last week by Lib Dem Schools Minister Sarah Teather.

Merton Council cabinet member for education Councillor Peter Walker said: "We welcome the extra funding that has become available, as it will help those particular children in the borough who may need extra financial help to make sure they have access to the educational tools the need.

"In addition to this new funding, we still want as many eligible families as possible to benefit from the free school meals, as they will be able to save themselves hundreds of pounds each year while ensuring their children eat healthily at school. Registering eligibility for free school meals also means you help the whole school too, as the school receives money for each child who is eligible."

Although nationally, the number of families taking advantage of the free meals has fallen, Merton Council says its "intensive" campaigning has resulted in a 14.7% increase in take-up from January 2010 to January 2011 across all schools in the borough.

Local Lib Dem campaigner Anthony Fairclough said: "This is money on top of what is already being allocated for school children – no school will lose money as result of the Pupil Premium.

"And it will be given to head teachers to spend at their discretion on what they think works best for their school – be it extra one-to-one classes, breakfast clubs or after-school clubs.

"The Pupil Premium was one of four Lib Dem key manifesto commitments. Making it a reality will help improve the social mobility and life chances of hundreds of thousands of children from less privileged backgrounds over the coming years."

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October 17, 2011