A new funding package designed to help pupils who struggled at primary school to catch up with their classmates at secondary level could also generate more jobs in education.
Recently published figures by the Department for Education (DfE) indicate that only five per cent of pupils who do not manage to attain a level four in English and maths at key stage two go on to achieve five GCSEs, including in English and maths, at A* to C.
Last year, 13 per cent of year six pupils failed to gain a level four in reading and 16 per cent failed to achieve this in maths – a total of 109,000 pupils altogether.
The department has therefore announced the introduction of a new pupil premium that will see £500 allocated to schools for every year seven pupil that failed to reach the expected level in literacy and maths when they finished primary school.
For the present academic year, £54.5 million will be made available to provide additional help for these pupils so that they are more likely to make faster progress rather than fall further behind, with schools given freedom to decide how best to utilise this funding.
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Schools Minister David Laws commented: "It is vital that every child has a strong grasp of maths and a good reading ability when starting their secondary education. No pupil should be left behind."
The DfE also anticipates that enabling these pupils to catch up will bolster their motivation levels and ensure they do not engage in disruptive behaviour that hinders secondary teachers from more effectively teaching their classmates.
Posted by Theo Foulds