Catherine McKinnell MP warned today that schools in the North East could lose out on up to £7.6 million in Pupil Premium funding as a result of Government changes, as highlighted by the North East Child Poverty Commission, Schools North East and Children North East.
The unexplained changes to the Pupil Premium mean that the Government plan to use data from October 2020, rather than January 2021, to calculate the Pupil Premium, which could see North East Schools losing £7.6 million they should have received for the 5,700 North East pupils that became eligible for free school meals between October and January.
Speaking in the House of Commons Catherine highlighted that “schools spend Pupil Premium funding on things like extra teaching staff, breakfast clubs, laptops, and tailored support for their most disadvantaged pupils” and that schools in the North East have “experienced some of the worst learning loss”.
Catherine called for a debate in Parliament on the changes to ensure that schools and pupils in the North East “don’t lose out on any more funding” as a result of the changes.
In response, the Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg stated: “Obviously you always have to have cut off dates to allow for figures to be run and for decision to be made, and after those cut off dates, well then you will have the next year’s figures to work out for future years but all Government depends on data for particular dates and it is not unreasonable.”
Following her question in Parliament, Catherine commented:
“We should be investing in pupils and providing further support for catch up programmes, not potentially losing further Pupil Premium funding that is targeted at the most disadvantaged pupils.
“The potential for schools in the North East to lose out on a further £7.6 million in Pupil Premium funding will be shocking and worrying for parents and teachers across the North East.
“The response from the Government that you always have cut off dates will be grossly insulting to parents, teachers and pupils. In this year of all years, amending the way the formula is calculated in a way which will see North East pupils potentially losing millions in additional funding is astonishing.
“I support calls from the North East Child Poverty Commission, Schools North East and Children North East to look again at these changes and will be continuing to press the Government on this issue”.