Council calls on government to review school’s Pupil Premium funding allocation
Council Leader Shaun Davies and Cllr Shirley Reynolds (cabinet member for children, young people, education and lifelong learning), together with Primary and Secondary Heads in Telford and Wrekin, have written to Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Education, to raise concerns about the government’s recent decision to change the date at which Pupil Premium funding is determined.
With the government now using school census data from October 2020 instead of January 2021, as has been the norm in previous years, schools within the borough are set to loose £420,000 of Pupil Premium funding.
This is additional funding allocated to schools to help disadvantaged pupils close the attainment gap between them and their peers. Children who are eligible for support are often those who access Free School Meals (FSM).
In their letter to the Education Secretary, Cllr. Shirley Reynolds and Cllr. Shaun Davies expressed their disappointment.
Cllr. Reynolds said: “Three hundred and twenty-five additional children in our borough qualified for Pupil Premium in January 2021 when compared to October 2020. It is an appalling decision that leaves disadvantaged children without much-needed support.
Cllr. Davies added: “At a time when so many families are struggling financially due to the pandemic’s impact, the government has implemented a change that will significantly impact on funding, leaving disadvantaged children to fall further behind.
“We have asked the Secretary of State for Education to reconsider the decision and revert to the usual January 2021 school census data to determine Pupil Premium.
“This is a reasonable request that will ensure more children and families receive vital support at this challenging time. “
Mandie Haywood, Headteacher ay Old Park Primary School has also signed the letter to the Education Secretary, on behalf of Primary Heads within Telford and Wrekin. She says: “We have seen an increase in Free School Meal uptake across the borough’s primary schools, as the pandemic continues to affect many families.
“We are now being given less resources to support these families, at this still incredibly difficult time.
“We are calling for the Government to revert to the original Pupil Premium allocation date so more children can receive essential support”
Krissi Carter, Headteacher Burton Borough School who has signed the letter to the Education Secretary on behalf of Secondary Heads within Telford and Wrekin says:
“Across borough secondary schools, the number of pupils eligible to claim Free School Meals has increased between October 2020 and January 2021, as many families have seen their income significantly reduced.
“To leave these children without additional support in schools is unfair, so we are asking the government to urgently review its decision.”