New targeted funding for disadvantaged

29th June 2007 at 01:00
(Photograph) - David Wright (above) has years of experience working in tough, urban areas, with big school budgets, writes Irena Barker. So when he moved to a headship in the well-heeled town of Stafford 18 months ago, he got a big surprise.

His school, Sir Graham Balfour high, has many of the problems suffered by inner-city schools, but the area is deemed too well-off to merit extra funding. He would love to be able to afford learning mentors and a self-esteem programme. "The same issues exist here as in the inner cities, but on a smaller scale," he said.

Although he will have to wait three to four years, his school could benefit from a new funding regime where the money follows deprivation. Money from the dedicated schools grant will be allocated to authorities to deal with surges in pupil numbers, or pupils who do not speak English. Steve Sinnott of the National Union of Teachers said the changes were a "big victory".

Photograph by Roy Kilcullen

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