Jo Swinson MP for East Dunbartonshire is welcoming the Coalition Government's Christmas present to schools in England thanks to an increase in funding for the Pupil Premium and is calling on the Scottish Government to introduce a similar programme.
Last week the Coalition Government announced the Pupil Premium will be worth a total of £1.65bn, or £900 per child, in 2013/14. The cash is an increase in the Pupil Premium funding, which targets extra money to schools depending on the number of children from disadvantaged backgrounds they have.
It covers any primary or secondary school pupil that has been registered for Free School Meals (FSM) in the past six years. Next year, more than half a million additional children will qualify for the Pupil Premium
Commenting Jo said:
"I am proud that the Liberal Democrats are helping children to reach their full potential.
"For too long, social background has been a deciding factor in a child's chances for the future.
"This money does not just help the poorest children, it helps every child. Fewer children falling behind means less disruption in class and a better education for everyone."
"Scotland too suffers from a considerable gap in attainment disadvantaged young people and their better off classmates by the time they leave school.
"Tackling the performance gap between children from advantaged and disadvantaged backgrounds, to raise performance for all children, requires sustained additional financial support.
"I urge the Scottish Government to follow the UK Government lead on this, so that more money can be channelled to the poorest pupils in Scotland too."
Commenting on the effect of the premium in England, Liberal Democrat Schools Minister, David Laws said:
"We are already seeing across the country how the Pupil Premium is making a difference to children's lives. Extra tuition, better IT resources and closer work with parents are all examples of how the Pupil Premium is being used to support the most disadvantaged pupils and benefit all their classmates too.
"That's why I'm so pleased that, next year, we'll be extending the Pupil Premium to another half a million children, and increasing the money that schools get to £900 per pupil.
"This means that, as a result of Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government, more children will get a better start in life."
About the Pupil premium
By 2015, it will be worth a total of £2.5bn a year to schools in England.
The Pupil Premium was one of four policy priorities that the Liberal Democrats put on the front page of their 2010 General Election manifesto. The others were: raising the point at which you start paying Income Tax to £10,000 to give people on low and middle incomes a £700 tax cut; creating jobs by making Britain greener; and measures to clean up politics. The Pupil Premium was one of the key measures argued for by Liberal Democrats during the Coalition negotiations.