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‘Pupil Premium will begin to break the link between poverty and attainment’ – Aled Roberts AM

March 15, 2012 4:04 PM

Aled Roberts AM has today highlighted the importance of the Welsh Pupil Premium after statistics have shown that pupils eligible for free school meals generally suffer from lower education attainment than those who have never been eligible.

The statistical release titled 'Achievement and Entitlement to Free Schools Meals in 2011' stated that the performance of pupils eligible for free school meals is lower than their non eligible counterparts at all key stages and in all performance measures. Looking at the core subject indicator, the gap has narrowed over the last six years at Key Stages 1, 2 and 3. However, at Key Stage 4, the gap in performance has widened.

Aled Roberts, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Education, commented:

"For too long social background has been a deciding factor in a child's achievement and future prospects, whether it be in health, occupation or further higher education.

"It is particularly worrying that the gap in attainment for pupils studying at GCSE level has actually widened. Wales must begin to break the link between poverty and attainment that has dogged our education system for so long.

"The Welsh Liberal Democrats have fought long and hard for the Welsh Government to be doing more to support pupils from poorer backgrounds, which is why in the budget negotiations we put the Welsh Pupil Premium at the heart of our demands. From April this year, thanks to the Welsh Liberal Democrats, schools will receive an extra £450 for every pupil on free schools meals to help improve standards of achievement.

"The challenge now is for schools to ensure that the increase in investment through the Pupil Premium is used to the best effect possible to ensure that the attainment gap is finally closed."