Schools in North Yorkshire are set to lose £862,005 in funding for the most disadvantaged pupils in the county following the government’s decision to alter the method of calculating Pupil Premium funding.
The pupil premium, which aims to close the attainment gap by providing extra money to pupils eligible for free school meals, was a flagship reform introduced by the Liberal Democrats in government in 2011.
Freedom of information requests by Schools Week suggest that schools in North Yorkshire are set to lose £862,005 following the decision to base the funding on a school’s pupil numbers in October rather than January as previously calculated.
Liberal Democrat county councillor David Goode said:
This cut shows the Conservatives are more focussed on penny-pinching than on giving children the best possible education.
When the attainment gap is widening and children from disadvantaged backgrounds have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, it is shameful that the Tories would seek to cut North Yorkshire’s pupil premium money.
Liberal Democrats introduced the pupil premium and have had to fight the Tories to keep it properly funded.
Given the financial pressure that families are under, this change has real potential to cause harm and will have a direct impact on the quality of education schools can provide for those who are in desperate need of more, not less, support.
This is a bad move at the worst possible time. The Government must listen to teachers about the reality on the ground, not pull support when it is most needed.
Cllr Patrick Mulligan, Executive Member for Education and Skills, North Yorkshire County Council:
We are disappointed in the changes to the funding calculations for Pupil Premium payments, as they help schools and pupils make up for disadvantages or barriers some children face to achieving the same outcomes in education as their peers.
Our schools in North Yorkshire achieve some of the best grades and outcomes for their pupils in the country, and we will make sure no child is left behind and that every child achieves their full potential.”
DfE have previously used January as their data source (but this year have moved to October). The £862k figure reflects DfE’s change in the data source. The f40 group (www.f40.org.uk) have written to the DfE to express concern over the effect of changes to the way Pupil Premium has been calculated.
FOI data: https://schoolsweek.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Pupil-Premium-changes-3.xlsx
Analysis from Schools Week: https://schoolsweek.co.uk/revealed-how-much-your-area-will-lose-from-pupil-premium-funding-change/