Half a million more children from disadvantaged backgrounds are set to benefit from Government help, the children’s minister Sarah Teather is expected to announce later today.
The pupil premium, worth £488 per child, is given to schools on top of their main funding and Headteachers are free to spend the extra money however they choose.
At present schools only receive the premium for pupils currently eligible for free school meals, which are available to children from low-income families. But the new plans will allow schools to claim for any child who has been registered for free school meals in the past six years.
According to the children’s minister widening the availability of the premium will help schools close the gulf in achievement between the poorest children and their less-deprived classmates.
“It will help schools tackle the inequalities that have been a part of our state system for far too long,” she said. “Thousands of children will finally be getting the extra support they need to succeed.”
Sarah, who is due to make a written Commons statement later today, will also tell parliament how much each school will receive next year and what the total pot will be worth.
Total pupil premium funding for 2011-12 is £625million and is due to rise to £2.5billion a year by 2014-15.