The 2010 Liberal Democrats national manifesto proposed the idea of the Pupil Premium, which was introduced when the Party entered Government. Head teachers decide how it is to be spent. They receive £1320 per eligible primary pupil, £935 per secondary, aimed at the most disadvantaged students. Our commitment is to ensure this funding is maintained in real terms and better yet increased. If you want to see the benefits of our policy, it's a piece of schools funding where there is clarity and accountability - you'll find up to date reports on most schools' websites about what they are doing with this extra money.
Schools in Newcastle get as much as £740,000 from Pupil Premium, giving them the wherewithall to target those who need help in the most in a laser-like way. I checked on what one of the first schools in Parklands Ward is doing with its extra money - about £50,000 a year. This is what it says:
The school priority is that every child becomes a confident and fluent reader in order to fully access the wider curriculum. To support this aim Pupil Premium resources are targeted at additional support for children in the first years of education, one-to-one support with reading and phonics and reading intervention strategies for older children to ensure any attainment gaps are closed.
The skills of our Learning Support Assistants are developed through targeted training so they can deliver intervention programmes and strategies and ensure children in receipt of Pupil Premium make the best possible progress in basic skills like reading, writing and maths.
High attendance is a key factor in raising educational attainment. Our Pupil Support Assistant works with families to ensure our children come to school ready to learn every day. Our school counsellor works with individuals to help them understand and deal with issues impacting on their lives and often their educational achievement. Both are paid from Pupil Premium money. And there are small sums available for things outside the basic curriculum like music and educational visits.
In 2014 45% of children eligible for free school meals achieved the expected level at the end of the early years foundation stage compared with 64% of other children. So in 2015 the Early Years Pupil Premium was made available to nurseries, schools, childminders and other childcare providers to support children's development, learning and care. It is Liberal Democrats policy to increase this funding up to £1000 per eligible child.
Liberal Democrats believe in universal high quality education and when we can, we put money where our mouth is, whatever the consequences for us.
- Robin Ashby
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