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£4.2 million funding boost for Worcestershire schools
SCHOOLS across Worcestershire are to receive an extra £4.2 million in funding from April.
In the face of intense lobbying the Government has agreed to increase its pupil premium funding across the country from £623 per student to £900.
The premium is a ‘top up’ sum given to schools for pupils who receive free meals, are in looked-after care or whose parents are in the armed forces.
Although Worcestershire remains among the worst funded local authority areas in the country it means some schools will get up to £100,000 more.
It is worth £2.8 million to Worcester schools alone, with Nunnery Wood High School expecting £226,000 compared to £140,000.
Head teacher Alun Williams said: “It’s great news that we are getting this money - it won’t close the gap between Worcestershire and other areas but I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”
The Department for Education (DFE) say the final amounts for individual schools are due to be confirmed in early spring.
At Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College head teacher Sean Devlin said: “We get £34,000 at the moment and the increase will be very, very pleasing - it won’t solve disparities between this county and others but it gives us valuable extra funding for pupils who need it.”
Councillor Jane Potter, cabinet member for education and skills at County Hall, said: “This will provide extra funding for those schools with pupils from deprived backgrounds and will be used to narrow the attainment gap between these pupils and those from more affluent families.
“However it should be recognised that despite this good news Worcestershire still receives comparatively low funding levels compared to its neighbouring counties and we will continue to lobby for more funding for schools in Worcestershire.”
There are 14, 460 pupils in the county who qualify for the premium at the moment.
Worcester MP Robin Walker said: “This is very good news indeed and the best thing about it is that it targets support to those who really need it the most.
“I’ve been pushing on this for a long time and although it doesn’t address all the issues which exist with schools funding, it will help.
“It’s a positive step but we will continue to lobby for reform.”
Mr Walker is meeting Chancellor George Osborne tomorrow afternoon, following Prime Minister's Questions, to press the need for more funding for schools in Worcestershire.