More than 2,300 Scottish schools to gain extra funding for disadvantaged pupils

Scottish pupil premium will give schools a cash boost of up to £354,000

Emma Seith

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More than 2,300 schools are set to benefit from the Scottish version of the pupil premium, the government has announced.

The pupil premium has existed in English schools since 2011 and gives additional money to primaries and secondaries depending on the number of pupils eligible for free meals over the past six years, in a bid to help close the poverty related attainment gap.

Now the Scottish government is set to introduce a similar scheme – called the pupil equity fund – which will give £1,200 directly to schools for every pupil on free meals from P1 to S3.

Of the 2300 schools set to benefit, 1,928 are primaries, 358 are secondaries and 112 are special schools, education secretary John Swinney announced today.

Glasgow, with its relatively high levels of poverty, is the biggest winner, set to receive £21.6 million of the £120 million fund.  Fife will receive £9.8 million, North Lanarkshire £8.9 million, South Lanarkshire £7.9 million and Edinburgh £7.5 million.

Meanwhile the schools set to lay claim to the largest pots of cash, which should be available from April, are Dalmarnock Primary and St Andrews Secondary - both in Glasgow.

Dalmarnock will receive an additional £278,400 under the scheme and St Andrews Secondary will gain £354,000.

Dalmarnock Primary head Nancy Clunie said the additional funding would make “a huge difference” to the children in her school, roughly 60 per cent of whom claim a free meal.

Typically the school has an annual devolved budget of around £15,000 to spend on classroom resources and staff development, so the funding would be a huge boost, she told TESS.

Ms Clunie added: "This additional funding will make a huge difference to the children at our school.  We already do a lot of work with our partners to put on activities involving parents to improve the health and wellbeing of the whole family, as less stressed children make better learners."

Mr Swinney said: “I want every child in Scotland to have the best possible start in life, and it is unacceptable for children from the poorest backgrounds to have their chances limited by circumstances outside their control.

“This government has made clear our priority is to close the poverty-related attainment gap and our new £120 million pupil equity funding is aimed at doing just that.”

The pupil equity funding is on top of the existing £50 million Attainment Scotland funding. However, opposition politicians said the government could not hope to close the gap while cutting the budgets of the local authorities.

Labour education spokesperson Daniel Johnson said: “The SNP sums simply don’t add up on schools funding. Ministers cannot cut the gap between the richest and the rest while they slash £327 million from local education budgets across Scotland.”

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Emma Seith

Emma Seith

Emma Seith is a reporter for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Emma_Seith

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