Liberal Democrat News 18th May 2012
Cyhoeddwyd yn wreiddiol gan UK Liberal Democrats
£10m to boost literacy - Clegg
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced on Monday that there will be up to £10m additional support for Pupil Premium children who leave primary school without Level 4 literacy - the expected level.
In a keynote speech to teachers and school leaders, he said that the Education Endowment Foundation will be awarding the money to pilot projects to help disadvantaged pupils make the transition from primary to secondary school. The money will be targeted at struggling Year 7s from deprived homes.
"How can a child start secondary school unable to read with confidence?" declared Nick. "That is a basic building block of a good education and no child should begin the race so far behind the starting line. We need to do everything we can to help these children through this transition to get them up to speed.
"That is a responsibility the government takes extremely seriously. And I can confirm that the Education Endowment Foundation will shortly be inviting groups of local schools, in the areas that suffer most with this problem, to bid for extra funds for struggling Year 7s from deprived homes to help them get their reading and writing up to scratch. Extra 'catch up cash', if you like.
"We envisage that schools will want to use it for small catch up classes, or one-to-one tuition, or vouchers for literacy tuition that parents can spend. We will run a proper evaluation, sharing what works with all schools not just those areas taking part in these pilots. It's likely this kind of targeted support is the best way to crack this problem - next year we'll know.
"Of course, we hope as few pupils as possible need it, thanks to the Pupil Premium. And I know primary and secondary schools up and down the country are determined to make this work.
"Some are using the money for breakfast clubs; homework clubs; or to provide one-to-one-tuition. Some are funding counselling services, so troubled kids are in the right place, emotionally, to learn. Some are using it for educational visits to places like museums: the sort of experiences middle class children take for granted but poorer child might rarely enjoy."
Nick also announced that he wants to "strike a deal between the Coalition government and our schools and teachers. Teachers who help these children unlock the doors that otherwise hold them back ... they are the key to an open and fair society ... the key to the opportunity Britain I am determined we build."
The best teachers will be offered incentives to work in schools that have large numbers of disadvantaged pupils. The government will ask the School Teachers Review Body to look at giving other schools the same flexibility Academies currently have to use pay to hold on to the best teachers.
Also, from next year, there will be Pupil Premium Awards for the 50 schools that do the best to boost the performance of their poorest pupils and narrow the gap - with cash prizes of up to £10,000 for the best of the best.