Wednesday, 24 February 2016

The Pupil Premium - what's it all about?....basically more money for schools secured by the Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats in the Welsh Assembly have relentlessly campaigned for extra resources for Wales’ under-funded schools. The Party managed to secure the Welsh Pupil Premium which means that schools across Ceredigion and Wales will receive £1150 per child for every pupil between the ages of 5-15 who are eligible to receive free school meals.

The aim of the Pupil Premium is to ensure that every child entering the school system has an equal chance of doing well; that every child has the same chances to improve their educational attainment. I am proud that Kirsty Williams and the Welsh Liberal Democrats have got this policy onto the table of Welsh government and is now helping hundreds of children in Ceredigion and throughout Wales.

Even Carwyn Jones, the First Minister praised the Liberal Democrats for this idea: The First Minister said: “I will be generous today, in the hope that that generosity of spirit will continue tomorrow. It is quite right to say that this was a Liberal Democrat idea.” Carwyn Jones 10.10.2012 (First Minister's Questions to Kirsty Williams)

Teachers in Ceredigion have contacted me to say that this is "a lifeline" for schools and makes a real difference to the lives of children. As a result schools have been able to fund additional resources, to ensure that those pupils who need a little bit extra support, gets it.

Schools are reporting significant improvements in English and Maths and they are using the grant to increase the number of teaching assistants who can directly contribute to the increase in good academic results. At key stage 2 the rates of improvement of pupils eligible for free school meals in English, Welsh, Science and Maths has greatly increased and proved that targeted intervention works. Improvement in attendance of pupils eligible for free school means has also accelerated since the introduction of the Pupil Premium. Regulators ESTYN say that the Pupil Premium is delivering better outcomes for children.

In the recent budget negotiations my colleagues also managed to secure the following:
  • the extension of the Pupil Premium to include under 5s, worth £300 per pupil on free school meals;
  • a Young Persons’ Bus Pass for 16-18 year olds worth nearly £15m;
  • funding for around 5,000 new apprenticeships;
  • £95m capital investment in infrastructure that will provide a strong boost to jobs and the economy;
  • As part of the latest budget deal, the pupil premium will rise to £1,050 per pupil in 2015-16 and £1,150 per pupil in 2016-17.

This will see the total amount spent on the policy rise to £282m over the 5 years. Even in opposition, the Welsh Liberal Democrats are punching above their weight and delivering their policies. So, if you want to be part of a programme of continuous improvement for Welsh Education; vote Liberal Democrat in the May Welsh Assembly Elections.

I will continue to work hard for residents of Ceredigion and you can be part of that change too, by supporting my campaign. Please contact me to find out how you can play an important part in changing Ceredigion for the better.