More cash will mean fairer deal

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MORE than 3,000 additional children in Northumberland will qualify for the Pupil Premium, meaning millions of pounds more for the county’s schools next year.

The Premium – aimed at supporting the area’s most disadvantaged children – amounts to £600 extra for every child eligible for free school meals.

From next year, the scheme will be extending its reach to cover any child that has been registered for free school meals in the past six years.

The new rules mean almost 10,000 Northumberland pupils will qualify in total, increasing local school budgets by around £5.7million.

Northumberland MEP Fiona Hall said: “It is a scandal that children on free school meals have consistently worse school results than those that have never been eligible.

“Only one in 200 pupils on free school meals get three As at A-Level, compared with one in three privately-educated pupils.

“We are consigning too many young people from poor backgrounds to a life of underachievement, without the equality of opportunity available to better-off families.

“That’s why the Government is giving schools an extra £600 for each child eligible for free school meals.

“That amounts to an additional £5.7million in Northumberland next year.

“The Pupil Premium ensures money is directed towards those who need it most and helps ensure every child is given a fair chance to fulfil their potential.”