I have heard first-hand from teachers how reducing class sizes would have an instant and positive impact on the class environment. Schools in England have some of the largest class sizes in the developed world and teachers are often less able to even give enough attention to individual pupils, which naturally has an impact on their achievement.
We can see evidence of this in figures that show that children from less well-off families are not as likely to get five good GCSEs as their better-off classmates. Only one in five pupils who qualify for free school meals gained five A-C grade GCSEs in 2007. Clearly there needs to be targeted investment at schools so they can support children better.
A central part of the Liberal Democrat manifesto is to give every child a fair start in life. We propose spending an extra £2.5bn on schools, guaranteeing them the money they need to support children who might be struggling. This cash can be used to cut class sizes or run catch-up classes, both of which will ensure all pupils get the support and individual attention they need to achieve their potential.
How much money each school gets in this new ‘Pupil Premium’ will be calculated according to the number of pupils eligible for free school meals. On current estimates, this equates to around £2,500 per pupil nationally.
In Manchester Withington, this would mean 27 of 32 schools would benefit, at an average of £298,304. The five schools that would benefit the most would be Chorlton High School (£1,135,000); Parrs Wood High School (£962,500); Burnage Media Arts College (£795,000); The Barlow RC High School (£597,500); and Old Moat Community (£415,000). Full details of what each school would get can be found above in the attached image.
Nick Clegg was on the Political Slot introducing the Pupil Premium recently, you can see the video of him talking about it here: budurl.com/cleggpupilpremium