EXTRA funding for Sheffield’s poorest pupils has been dismissed as a ‘fig leaf’ for swingeing cuts to education.
Deputy PM Nick Clegg last week announced that the Pupil Premium scheme, under which schools receive additional grants for each disadvantaged youngster, would be worth £18.1m in Sheffield next year, compared with £11.4m in 2012/13. The rise is due to the grant increasing from £600 to £900 per pupil and an increase in those who qualify.
But Sheffield Council’s Labour leader, Coun Julie Dore, said: “The Government promised the pupil premium would help the poorest pupils do better. But the reality is it is merely a fig leaf for the biggest cuts to education funding since the 1950s.
“If the Lib Dems really cared about the poorest children in our society they wouldn’t be making massive and disproportionate cuts to the Early Intervention Grant which funds vital programmes, helping those from disadvantaged and vulnerable backgrounds. If they really cared they wouldn’t axe the Education Maintenance Allowance to support children from poorer backgrounds through school and further education.”