Extra spending on struggling pupils

PUBLISHED: 06:30 27 September 2012

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg


Hundreds of pupils in Norfolk will be given intensive catch-up tuition worth around £1.4m to ensure they can read and do maths to the benchmark standard when starting secondary school.

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg announced the “catch-up premium” during his main speech on the last day of the Liberal Democrat annual party conference in Brighton yesterday.

Under the plan secondary schools will receive an additional £500 for every pupil coming to them who has not achieved at least Level 4, the expected standard, in reading or maths. The cash will then be used by head teachers to deliver additional tuition or intensive support in small groups, in a bid to bring students up to speed.

This year in Norfolk around 16pc of children did not reach Level 4 in reading, some 1,280 pupils. Meanwhile in maths 19pc did not make the benchmark, around 1,520 pupils.

Speaking before his speech Mr Clegg said: “Secondary school is a massive step up for pupils when much bigger demands are placed on their abilities.

“For tens of thousands of children, this is all the more daunting because they are simply not equipped with the basics of English and maths needed to unlock the variety of subjects now on offer to them. Pupils who start secondary school behind their peers should be given every chance to catch up as quickly as possible. The funding I’m announcing today will allow schools to provide intensive tuition to help pupils to get up to speed and so get the best out of their secondary school education.”

In Suffolk, where secondary schools will receive around £1.24m from the measure, 1,104 youngsters did not make the benchmark level in reading and 1,380 failed to reach the standard level in maths.

The government highlights evidence pupils who are behind in English and maths when they start secondary school struggle to achieve better GCSE grades in a range of subjects.

Only 30pc of those not achieving Level 4 in reading at the end of primary school go on to get five A* to Cs at GCSE. For pupils on free school meals this drops to a meagre seven per cent.

In total almost 110,000 pupils in state schools across the country will benefit from the catch-up premium this year. Funding will be allocated to schools in January 2013 and will then be guaranteed every year up to 2015.

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