Brighton and Hove schools to receive about £2m pupil premium

Posted On 29 Jan 2011 at 2:47 am

Brighton and Hove schools have been allocated an estimated £2 million “pupil premium” by the Department for Education.

The department is paying a “premium” of £430 to schools for every pupil eligible for free school meals.

Pupils qualify for free school meals if their parents earn less than £16,000 a year and Brighton and Hove City Council said that 4,761 qualified in the current school year.

It had not finalised the figures for the coming financial year.

The money has been described as extra funding for the poorest pupils by some politicians.

But Michael Gove, the Conservative Education Secretary, told the BBC TV Politics Show in October that it would come from his department’s existing budget.

Mr Gove said that some schools would gain and others would lose out.

At the Brighton and Hove City Council meeting at Hove Town Hall on Thursday (27 January) one councillor touched on the subject.

Les Hamilton, the Labour councillor for North Portslade, said that he had been at a governors’ meeting when funding was discussed.

Councillor Hamilton said that the unnamed school would gain £23,000 as a result of the pupil premium but would lose £19,000 because its devolved formula capital allocation had been cut.

The capital allocation includes a premium for schools with pupils who have special educational needs.

One school governor said yesterday that Councillor Hamilton’s example showed that even some schools with a high proportion of poor or problem pupils could still lose out.

The governor added that schools in more affluent areas than Portslade had the most to lose financially.

He said that he and his fellow governors were facing a series of tough decisions as the funding position was gradually becoming clearer.

And he urged parents to give as much support as possible during what he called “a tricky period over the coming few years”.

He said: “Despite the pupil premium, I suspect schools in places like Portslade are going to find the next few years rather tough.

“Most schools though will have at least some wealthier parents and, while I strongly believe that education should be free, if ever there was a time to offer some sort of financial support, this has to be it.

“Our state schools are unlikely to ever be as well resourced as the likes of Brighton College, but parents and past pupils can still make a significant difference and I really hope they will.”

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