Disadvantaged primary school children are to benefit from an increase in the pupil premium, schools minister David Laws has announced.
An extra £22.5 million is to be provided for 2015-16, giving those in teaching jobs access to additional resources to support the most disadvantaged pupils from the start of their school careers.
The extra investment takes the total amount of pupil premium funding for 2015-16 to over £2.5 billion.
Some £1,320 will be provided to primary schools for every pupil who has been registered for free school meals (FSM) at any time in the last six years (known as 'Ever 6 FSM' pupils).
Evidence shows that raising youngsters' attainment levels by the end of primary school increases their chances of performing well in their GCSEs and sets them on the road to future success.
Significant progress has already been made to close the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their better-off peers.
In both reading and maths, the percentage of disadvantaged pupils meeting the expected level has risen from 62.2 per cent in 2011 to 69.3 per cent in 2013, while the gap between disadvantaged pupils and others has narrowed from 18.5 percentage points in 2011 to 14.8 percentage points in 2013.
The schools minister confirmed that secondary schools will continue to receive £935 for 'Ever 6 FSM' pupils, and all institutions will continue to receive £1,900 for those who are looked after or have left care through adoption or other circumstances.
Mr Laws said: "The pupil premium is building a fairer society with opportunity for everyone. We have already made significant progress towards closing the gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers.
"This additional funding will ensure teachers continue to have the resources they need to give all pupils the best possible start at school, regardless of their background."
The schools minister also announced the continuation of the catch-up premium for year seven pupils in 2015 to 2016.
Posted by Tim Colman