Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Minister Visits City To See How Pupil Premium Is Making A Difference


Government Minister, Sarah Teather made a flying visit to Cambridge today (Wednesday, June 27) to see how the Liberal Democrats’ Pupil Premium is helping disadvantaged youngsters at The Manor School.

Ms Teather, Liberal Democrat Minister for Children and Families joined the city’s MP Julian Huppert and staff and children at the school which has just won a bid for millions of pounds of government money for a rebuilding programme.

School head, Ben Slade told the Minister that the Pupil Premium – a sum of government money for every child on free school meals – is making a real difference to youngsters at the Arbury Road school.

He said some of his pupils come to school without having eaten breakfast while others don’t have uniforms and the money is also helping with student and family counseling.

“Some of our students suffer from a lack of care at home,” he said. “Sixty per cent of the school is on some kind of inclusion programme and quite a lot of the students are on very personalised timetables.”

He added that the school was also going to take up the government’s Summer School programme which he said included some “excellent ideas”.

Ms Teather said: “This is a school which Julian has told me is doing some really interesting things with children from deprived backgrounds.

“The children are confident and they really like their school even though the buildings are not in a good state. It clearly needs a rebuild and is obviously very dated.

“The children know it will take a while to be rebuilt and many won’t benefit from it. But one of the strongest things they said is that it will be good for the next students.”

Julian said: “I was delighted that Sarah could take time out of her busy schedule to come and see the excellent work that is taking place at the Manor School against a very difficult and challenging backdrop.

“It was also good that she could witness first-hand the problems and issues the school has to deal with and how the Pupil Premium is making a real difference to the youngsters. I am also delighted that the school’s bid for government funding has been successful and I look forward to seeing how it will be transformed.

“Cambridgeshire education funding has always been very poor but, despite that, people outside the county have the perception that the county is affluent and doesn’t need the money. It is clear from the challenges faced by the Manor School alone that that is far from the truth. It is time our funding had an uplift.”

Minister Sarah Teather joins Manor School head,
Ben Slade and Julian Huppert with one of the youngsters
in the school’s art room