Saturday, October 16, 2010

Nick Clegg announces ‘fairness premium’

Next week's comprehensive spending review (CSR) will include a £7 billion "fairness premium" to help children from poorer families as they go through nursery, school and university, Nick Clegg announced today.

The package will include free pre-school education for two-year-olds from disadvantaged households, a "pupil premium" providing extra cash while they are at school and a "student premium" to help them in higher education. The new cash is expected to support children from the poorest 20% of families.

  • This was a key Liberal Democrat election pledge that we are now delivering in Government
  • In the Spending Review we will provide extra funds – a total of over £7 billion – for a “fairness premium”, stretching from the age of two to the age of twenty. This is money spent on giving the poorest children a better start in life.
  • So while the CSR will cut spending, it will increase our investments in fairness, and in particular in the promotion of social mobility and life chances.

1. Early Years

· The 15hrs a week currently available for all 3 and 4 year olds will be protected.

· In addition, we will be adding an additional 15hrs a week of early years education for 2 year olds for the poorest families (the bottom 20% - children who receive full school meals).

2. The Pupil Premium

· The Pupil Premium means schools will receive additional funds to offer targeted help to every pupil eligible for free school meals. This will reduce educational inequalities.

· This is longstanding Liberal Democrat policy and one of our four key manifesto pledges.

· It is not up to Whitehall or politicians how they spend that money. It is up to the schools themselves.

o It is earmarked to help those who need it most but it can be used for one-to-one tuition; catch-up classes; after school projects; new equipment. Whatever schools and teachers feel will help their children the most.

· It is not just the poorest students which will benefit from this. All the evidence shows that the increase in funds will help drag the whole class along. For example, all children in the school (not just the poorest students at whom the Premium is targeted) would benefit from new equipment.

· In the long-term, this will benefit everyone. Targeted intervention at our poorest students will cut crime, mean less spending on damaged adults etc.

3. University

· Vince Cable will make an announcement in the next couple of weeks about how we will provide a student premium to the least advantaged students to ensure that bright children from disadvantaged backgrounds are not held back by the circumstances of their birth.

(Although the pupil premium as such will be delivered only in England, the settlement for the Welsh Assembly Government will take account of it.)

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