Rallying to call help Norfolk’s vulnerable children

A rallying call has gone out to parents of Norfolk's most vulnerable children urging them to help their schools make the most of a funding pot worth millions of pounds.

The government's pupil premium, introduced in 2010, aims to get youngsters from low-income families extra support by giving schools hundreds of pounds for every child they teach who is eligible for free school meals.

For this academic year, the scheme saw sites in the Norwich North and Norwich South parliamentary constituencies receive an extra �1.1m after �488 for every pupil claiming meals was allocated to the schools of more than 2,200 children.

But Norwich South MP Simon Wright said there were still too many eligible families who had not signed up – meaning their schools were missing out. And with twice as much money available in the national funding pot next year – a total of �1.25bn – the MP said there could be more than �2m up for grabs for the city.

He said: 'On average, there's thought to be a 5pc difference between the number of children eligible and the number who sign up. That means there was potentially 5pc more cash available to our schools this year.

'The pot of money is doubling next year so there's twice as much money up for grabs. This year Norwich schools got �1.1m – if that doubled next year, it would make a huge difference.' With the national funding pot doubling again for 2013/14, to a total of �2.5bn, there is likely to be even more money coming this way in the future – but only if parents sign up.

In order to ensure their schools make the most of the 2012 cash, parents have to register their youngsters for free school meals ahead of the schools census in January.

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To find out more, visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/schools

victoria.leggett@archant.co.uk