Hundreds of thousands of pupils in England could be missing out on extra cash for their schools according to the Department for Education.
This comes as the Department today (Monday) writes to schools across England to make sure that children entitled to Free School Meals (FSMs) are properly registered. Schools with these children are eligible for this support and without being registered, the Government can not give schools the extra £488 per pupil funding which comes through the Pupil Premium.
Data shows that between three to five per cent of school children could be missing out on the extra cash - which makes it between around 200,000 to 350,000 children in England. It also shows that families in the East Midlands, South East and East of England are less likely to register their children for FSM, even when they are entitled to them.
A good education is the key to improving young people’s life chances. This is particularly true for children from low-income families, who are far less likely to leave schools with good GCSE results than other children. Yet evidence shows it is these pupils that are being let down the most by the current school system - just 27 per cent of pupils on Free School Meals get five good GCSE grades compared with 54 per cent of non-Free School Meal pupils.
The Pupil Premium, which is additional to main funding a school receives, will address these inequalities by ensuring that funding to tackle disadvantage reaches the pupils who need it most.
It is for schools to decide how the Pupil Premium, allocated to schools per FSM pupil, is spent since they are best placed to assess what additional provision should be made for the individual pupils within their responsibility.
To monitor progress on attainment, new measures will be included in the performance tables that will capture the achievement of pupils covered by the Pupil Premium. From September 2012, we will also require schools to publish online information about how they have used the premium. This will ensure that parents and others are made fully aware of the progress and attainment of pupils covered by the premium.
Total funding for the Pupil Premium is £625 million in 2011-12, and will rise to £2.5 billion a year by 2014-15. We will be announcing the per pupil level funding of the Pupil Premium for 2012-13 shortly.
Children’s Minister Sarah Teather said:
The Pupil Premium benefits poorer pupils by providing extra money directly for those pupils who need it the most. We know that just 27 per cent of pupils on Free School Meals get five good GCSE grades compared with 54 per cent of non-free school meal pupils. This extra funding will help tackle this inequality and enable schools to provide the extra support they need to reach their full potential. That’s why it is essential those children entitled to it are registered.
Increasing registrations for FSM and the Pupil Premium Information for schools on free school meals (FSM) registration to ensure they receive the maximum Pupil Premium.