By Francesca James

The Coalition Government have announced a Pupil Premium to target extra money at schools taking disadvantaged pupils.

The proposed Pupil Premium would provide additional per pupil funding on top of the existing funding provided to schools. Schools will be free to spend the additional funding as they choose to raise the achievement of disadvantage pupils.

This was a key manifesto commitment and one that Nick Clegg made clear was one of his absolute priorities.

Liberal Democrats Children’s Minister Sarah Teather said:

“For too long social background has been a deciding factor in a child’s achievement and future prospects. In a fair society, it’s the Government’s responsibility to close the gulf in achievement, where the poorest children are almost three times less likely to leave school with five good GCSEs than their richer classmates.

“That’s why I’m delighted we are today announcing a new Pupil Premium, which will give extra funding to schools to help them tackle the inequalities that have been a part of our state system for far too long. Thousands of children will finally be getting the extra support they need to succeed.”

Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Committee for Education, Dan Rogerson added:

“Labour’s unequal education system left too many children falling behind.

“The Liberal Democrats made clear during the election campaign that a Pupil Premium to targeted at the most disadvantaged pupils was an absolute priority.

“This will allow schools to help all pupils in the way that they see fit, which could be reducing class sizes or providing more one-to-one tuition and catch-up classes.

“This is vital if we are to give all children the fair start in life that they deserve.”