Schools in Birmingham received a £44 million windfall today after the Government announced new cash grants to help children from less wealthy families succeed in the classroom.
Ministers announced the “pupil premium”, bonus funding paid to schools for pupils eligible for free school meals, would be increased to £600 per pupil.
This is up from £488 per pupil last year, and means Birmingham schools wil receive an extra £44.6 million.
Schools in Dudley will receive £6.9 million while schools in Sandwell will receive £10.3 million, schools in Solihull will receive £4.3 million and schools in Walsall will receive £8.3 million.
Some schools will receive extra funding of almost half a million pounds. Washwood Heath Technology College in Birmingham is set to receive £494,000 while Holte Visual and Performing Arts College in Lozells, Birmingham, is set to receive £475,800.
The figures for individual schools are estimates provided by the Department for Education and the final figure will depend on pupil numbers provided by the schools themselves.
Labour welcomed the funding, but warned that the cash would not make up for cuts elsewhere in the schools system.
Stephen Twigg, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said: “My real concern with the pupil premium is there is no process of accountability. Some schools will no doubt use the money effectively to improve attainment for children from poorer backgrounds.
“But because Michael Gove will not give guidance to headteachers on ways to do that, nor monitor how the money is being used, we have no way of knowing what the Pupil Premium is being spent on.”
The Government argues it is right to let headteachers decide for themselves how to spend the money because they are better placed that Whitehall-based politicians or officials to know what their pupils need.
Announcing the funding, children’s Minister Sarah Teather said: “For too long social background has been a deciding factor in a child’s achievement and future prospects.
“In a fair society, it’s the Government’s responsibility to close the gulf in achievement, where the poorest children are less likely to leave school with five good GCSEs than their less deprived classmates.”