£7million funding boost for Sunderland schools

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A BUMPER £7million in funding is heading for Sunderland’s schools.

A third of pupils in the city will qualify for the extra cash aimed at deprived youngsters.

The Government announced this week it will be raising the Pupil Premium, a sum given to a school for a child who is classed as disadvantaged, to £600 for the coming financial year.

Estimated figures show that for next April, more than 12,000 out of 36,328 Sunderland pupils will be eligible for the premium, which means more than £7million for Wearside’s schools.

Of those children, 20,459 will be eligible for the Deprivation Pupil Premium, 249 for the Looked After Child Pupil Premium and 50 for the Service Child Pupil Premium, which from April will be £250 for children of armed forces personnel.

In County Durham, almost 21,000 of the 63,409 pupils are expected to be eligible for the Pupil Premium, which means more than £12.5million for schools. Of these, 20,459 are eligible for Deprivation Pupil Premium, 333 for Looked After Child Pupil Premium and 179 for Service Child Pupil Premium.

This week the Department for Education (DfE) announced the new Pupil Premium for next year, which is an increase of £112 for each pupil and nationally for 2012-13. The premium will be worth £1.25billion in total.

Children who have been eligible for Free School Meals at any point in their school career have consistently lower educational attainment than those who have never been eligible.

In 2009/10, GCSE statistics showed that about a third of pupils who have been on Free School Meals in the previous six years achieved five or more A*-C grades, compared to more than two-thirds of their fellow pupils.

The Pupil Premium provides additional funding on top of the main funding a school receives and is targeted at pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds to ensure they benefit from the same opportunities as pupils from less deprived families.

Children’s Minister Sarah Teather said: “For too long, social background has been a deciding factor in a child’s achievement and future prospects.

“In a fair society, it’s the Government’s responsibility to close the gulf in achievement, where the poorest children are less likely to leave school with five good GCSEs than their less deprived classmates.

“Thousands of children will finally be getting the extra support they need to succeed.”

The Department for Education is reminding schools and parents to make sure those children eligible for Free School Meals are registered as soon as possible so schools receive the full funding they are entitled to.

Twitter: @sunechoschools