Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Lib Dems Bid To Solve Poor Exam Record For Disadvantaged Pupils

Cambridgeshire has one of the lowest records in the country for helping pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds achieve their full potential.

The county comes 12th from the bottom in league tables for achieving five A* to C grades in GCSEs including English and Maths; only 25 per cent of the pupils on free school meals achieve these targets.

In a bid to close the national performance gap, Liberal Democrat Children's Minister has allocated an extra £600 per Free School Meals child, the Pupil Premium.

With this money schools will be able to support children from disadvantaged backgrounds by providing extra one-to-one tuition, more teaching assistants or after-school activities.

This year, the amount available nationally for the Pupil Premium will be doubled to £1.25bn and this will increase to £2.5bn by 2014-15.

Peter Downes, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson and former secondary school headteacher, said: “The gap between those who do really well and those who don’t is too great. Unfortunately, how wealthy your parents are has been a deciding factor in a child’s chances for too long.”

Cllr Downes, who represents Brampton and Kimbolton on Cambridgeshire County Council added: “As a Liberal Democrat, I believe we cannot let this continue and that is why we must help children reach their full potential. In the Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats’ budget amendment we propose to enhance the Pupil Premium by £250 per pupil in the eight most deprived schools in the county.”

Liberal Democrat Children’s Minister, Sarah Teather said: “These figures reveal that children from deprived backgrounds have been let down by previous governments. All too often, children from disadvantaged backgrounds do not get the same opportunities as their more well-off peers, leaving their talents wasted.

“As a Liberal Democrat, I believe we have a duty to ensure we turn this shocking legacy of the last Labour Government around. That is why the Coalition Government is doing the right thing by giving schools extra money to focus on supporting these pupils.”