Redcar And Cleveland schools will miss out on £553,661 in funding for disadvantaged children thanks to a Conservative accounting con
Children in Redcar And Cleveland are set to lose out on £553,661 in extra support for children on free school meals thanks to an administrative sleight of hand that will see tens of thousands of disadvantaged children across the country ignored.
Local authorities across the country will lose out on millions in pupil premium funding – allocated to support children on free school meals – as government funding changes come into force. Labour analysis of freedom of information requests reveals that as many as 120,000 children could be missing out on support worth up to £155 million.
The change will see children lose support as the deadline for assessing eligibility for Pupil Premium funding (awarded to schools teaching disadvantaged children), is brought forward from the usual January cut-off to October, excluding tens of thousands of children from families pushed into poverty between October 2020 and January 2021- a move widely condemned by educationalists. In that period Universal Credit claimants rose by 5.5% across the country.
According to LGA Labour analysis, the average financial impact on local authorities is 7.4% of the total allocation in pupil premium 2020 – in Redcar And Cleveland that’s £553661 the equivalent of 412 children at primary school not receiving their Pupil Premium.
Councillor Carl Quartermain, Leader of the Redcar And Cleveland Labour Group said,
“The Conservatives can afford a 40% pay-rise for Dominic Cummings and £2bn in crony contracts for their mates, but when it comes to support for disadvantaged children in Redcar And Cleveland, they are cutting every corner they can find.
“The £554,000 our children are missing out on, while this country is throwing billions away on a test and trace system that hasn’t worked, means children missing out on the laptops, connectivity, lessons and the support they will need to catch-up after the difficulties of last year.
“It is shameful that this government thinks it can use an accounting con to short change children in Redcar And Cleveland. They have the wrong priorities that only benefit their privileged mates and they are making the wrong decisions for everyone else. We cannot continually sit back and watch as the Conservatives short change our residents whilst raiding the public purse time and time again.”
Kate Green MP, Shadow Education Secretary, said:
“The Conservatives’ stealth cut to school budgets shows their disregard for children’s futures as we recover from this pandemic.
“Their mishandling of the Covid crisis has kept children out of school, missing out on learning and time with friends, and now they are cutting support to help children most likely to have struggled with learning over the last year.
“The Conservatives have neglected children through this pandemic and now risk leaving them behind in our recovery.”
Pupil Premium: Publicly funded schools in England receive extra funding to help them improve the attainment of their disadvantaged pupils in the form of a Pupil Premium. Evidence shows that children from disadvantaged backgrounds generally face extra challenges in reaching their potential at school, and often do not perform as well as their peers – a problem exacerbated by lockdowns in the previous year. The Pupil Premium grant is designed to allow schools to help disadvantaged pupils by improving their progress and the exam results they achieve.
Schools get pupil premium funding based on the number of pupils they have in receipt of free school meals or who are or have been looked after (through adoption, care, or special guardianship).
The Government have moved the date for calculating pupil premium eligibility back from January to October, meaning schools are missing out on additional funding for any child who started claiming free school meals for the first time after 1st October 2020.
Effect of bringing the assessment date forward to October: Pupil Premium allocations were previously based on the number of eligible pupils recorded by schools in their census in January, but before Christmas the government slipped out an announcement that has brought this date forward to October 2020, when the number of children who qualified for free school meals is significantly lower. Between October 2020 and January 2021 Universal Credit claimants rose by 5.5% across the country – meaning children from these families will not trigger funding until next year.
Educationalists have condemned the move
Natalie Perera, chief executive of the Education Policy Institute, said: “On a national level, it could mean that schools miss out on tens of millions of pounds of funding,” Sir Peter Lampl, founder of the Sutton Trust
“It is concerning that, at a time when disadvantaged children need more support, the government has made a policy decision which would result in these children attracting less funding.”
FOI responses have revealed the true scale of the change – the equivalent of a 7.4% cut.
FOI responses have been received from a quarter of local authorities, showing that nearly 30,000 children have become eligible for pupil premium since October. Using the disadvantage premium rate of £1,345 for primary this means schools will be losing out on up to: £38,965,995 in funding.
FOI responses are in the spreadsheet attached (sheet 3)
Applying this nationally, suggests as many as 120,000 children could have become eligible for support since October 2020, worth up to £155million.
LGA Labour has estimated the uniform cut across all local authorities. The spreadsheet is attached.
In Redcar And Cleveland that’s £553,661, the equivalent of 412 children at primary school not receiving their Pupil Premium.
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