Many people are often surprised when I tell them there is a pot of funding given to schools to close the gap for children from poorer families.
This targeted fund gave schools in South Thanet £2.4million last year. At present, for every pupil in receipt of free school meals, the school receives £900 additional funding. The Government has just announced that this is set to rise by 44% to £1,300 per pupil in primary school: great news for children, parents and teachers across Thanet.
This funding is having a very tangible effect on results in Thanet. The headteacher of one of our schools where 56% of children are in receipt of free school meals told me that the pupil premium has doubled key stage 2 attainment and improved maths and English scores by 41% at his school.
Schools are free to spend money where it can be best put to use. Breakfast clubs to ensure that students start the day in the right way, after school homework support clubs and one-to-one tuition for those who are falling behind in maths or English are just some of the activities often funded by the pupil premium.
In Parliament I raised the huge benefit of the pupil premium locally and I was very pleased that the Minister praised Heads across Thanet.
Based on figures in the previous year, we are set to see around an extra £1 million pounds coming into South Thanet primary schools alone as a result of the Government’s decision to increase this funding.
Wherever you start in life, this funding is ensuring that opportunity should be available for all. No child should be sold short - not least in Thanet.