Isabel Hardman Isabel Hardman

David Laws to announce increase in pupil premium

The first minister up on the stage at the Liberal Democrat conference this afternoon is new education minister David Laws. He has an announcement which will please those in the audience: the party’s flagship pupil premium will increase from £600 to £900 per child. This is what he is expected to say:

‘I can announce today that next year the Pupil Premium will increase again. It will rise from £600 to £900 per child. Last year it paid for over 1.8 million pupils. Just think what we have done with that policy. A secondary school with 1,000 pupils, a third on the Pupil Premium, will be receiving around an extra £300,000 next year due to this Liberal Democrat pledge being delivered.’

Saying ‘just think what we have done with that policy’ is rather risky, given it was only two days ago that Laws was defending the premium on the Today programme after suggestions that many schools were not using the money to help their disadvantaged students, but were instead, in the words of Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw, ‘tarmacking playgrounds’. Laws accepted then that some schools were not using the premium in the right way: will his speech later include plans for greater scrutiny of the increased premium?

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