North East schools are set to lose up to £7.26m as a result to changes to the dates pupil premium funding is allocated.

Previously the money would be allocated based on data taken in January, but this has now been moved forward to October. The government claim this is to make budgeting easier, but in reality in seems it is another way for them to save more pennies by underfunding our schools.

Throughout the pandemic more and more families are struggling and as a result more children are falling into the category of being eligible for their schools to receive extra pupil premium funding to support them.

The number of children therefore becoming eligible between the new date of October and the old date in January is more significant than in other years. As a result, schools are losing out on millions in extra funding they would otherwise have had if the dates were left unchanged.

This must be addressed immediately so schools have the proper support to recover following the pandemic.

“Overlooking the inevitable rise in entitlement to free school meals at a period where strengthened restrictions and lockdown led to an increase in joblessness is at best incompetence and at worst a deliberate attempt to deprive schools of money they need to give our young people the best possible start in life.

“After a decade of cuts, it hardly seems like the government is even attempting to level up on education. On one hand schools are being denied funding that their pupil intakes mean they would normally be entitled to and on the other they are finding their ability to access catch up funding nigh on impossible due to the demographics of the region.”

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