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Capital's struggling children need back-up

LONDON'S schools tsar is proposing the introduction of a new grant for underachieving children to tackle education funding problems in the capital.

Tim Brighouse, the capital's schools commissioner, is warning that the Government's new strategy for improving education in London could fail unless it is backed with extra resources.

In The TES today he says that while the capital spends 75 per cent per head more on police and 55 per cent more on social services than the rest of the country, the premium on education is less than 15 per cent. He argues for a London-wide grant payable to secondary schools for every pupil achieving level 3 or less in maths and English at the end of primary school.

Kenny Frederick, head of George Green's school in the Isle of Dogs, welcomed the plan. She estimated that around a third of her Year 7 pupils fell into the category.

They needed extra support as their lack of basic skills made it difficult for them to cope with the rest of the curriculum.

"Extra funding for these children would help the school because if they do not get the support they can become demotivated," she said.

Professor Brighouse is thought to be discussing his idea with ministers.

But a Department for Education and Skills spokeswoman said there were no plans to change the way London schools were funded. l London's leading businesses are being invited into the capital's failing schools to help drive up standards as part of the Government's London Challenge strategy.

Up to 400 of the lowest-performing schools in the city could benefit from the London Business Challenge, launched this week by Stephen Twigg, London education minister. Companies such as British Airways, J Sainsbury and Merill Lynch, will offer advice and sponsorship to schools.

Tim Brighouse, Platform, 27

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