Jan 10 2013 by Rob Pattinson, Ormskirk Advertiser
SCHOOLS across West Lancs are set to benefit from almost £3m of extra government funding for 2013/14.
A total of £2.97m will be handed to head teachers to address inequality and help children from disadvantaged backgrounds through the Pupil Premium scheme.
Schools will receive £900 – up from £600 last year – for each pupil who has registered for free meals in the past six years.
The schools are then able to decide how best to use the funding to benefit pupils’ needs.
Provisional figures estimate there are 3,320 children in West Lancs who qualify for the funding, placing the area 232nd out of the country’s 533 electoral seats in terms of amount of funding received.
Ormskirk School will receive £182,700, up from £112,200 last year.
The school, which has seen a “steady but significant” increase in the number of pupils receiving free school meals in recent years, spent last year’s allocation on a range of projects, including appointing a specialist teacher to work with a Y7 pupil nurture group, creating a “Key Stage 3 Narrowing the Gaps Coordinator” post and one- to-one and small group tuition in English and maths for selected eligible pupils.
Head teacher John Doyle said: “It’s a great scheme because it allows the school to provide lots of extra support.
“I really welcome the opportunity to make a big difference to those pupils who really need it.”
Glenburn Sports College is expected to receive the most money in West Lancs, with a preliminary allocation of £243,900.
The school said it uses Pupil Premium funding to ensure the needs of socially disadvantaged pupils are met. Last year, the school received £133,440, and some of the funding was used to set up a “one-stop shop” learning centre to work with pupils needing additional academic and pastoral support.
Head teacher James Harris said that this year the cash would be used to reduce class sizes in English and maths and to employ additional staff.
He said: “The Pupil Premium scheme has been beneficial – particularly for a school like ours, where broadly half of pupils receive free school meals – and has been spent on ensuring students get the best quality of support, intervention and education.”
Schools in South Ribble will receive £1.93m, while a total of £3.4m will be allocated to schools across the county.
County councillor Susie Charles, Cabinet Member for Children and Schools, said: “We warmly welcome the increase in the pupil premium, which will go directly towards helping the children who need it most.
“Schools are already making excellent use of the pupil premium, both in the classroom and in our unique Best Start scheme, a collaboration between schools and children's centres not only to improve the achievement of disadvantaged pupils, but to help their families, too.
“We also encourage all families who are eligible for free school meals to claim them, because – as well as a nutritious hot meal – this means the child's school will receive their pupil premium, too.”