John Swinney announces breakdown of pupil equity funding cash

30 January 2018, 06:40

school classroom

Almost 2,400 schools across Scotland will share more than £120 million as part of government efforts to close the attainment gap.

The Scottish Government confirmed that 2,387 schools will receive money from the £750 million Pupil Equity Funding scheme in 2018-19.

Glasgow City Council, Scotland's largest authority, will benefit from more than a sixth of the cash, receiving £21,785,160 to help fund improvements at 191 schools.

The amount of money each individual school will get is linked to the number of pupils it has receiving free school meals, with the money going directly to headteachers, allowing them to choose how to use the resources.

Education Secretary John Swinney announced the allocations to areas and schools ahead of the visit to St Francis RC Primary School in Dundee, where staff used part of the cash they received in 2017-18 to set up six week-long summer schools focused on boosting literacy, numeracy and well-being for pupils in the most deprived areas.

He said: "Every child should have the best possible start in life, no matter their background. Schools have a significant role to play in ensuring every child is given the right support to help them achieve their full potential.

"Our priority is to close the poverty-related attainment gap. This £120 million of Pupil Equity Funding is aimed at doing just that.

"The funding is targeted towards schools who have the highest numbers of pupils receiving free school meals, so that the money is spent on the children who need it most."

He added: "Last year's allocation is already making a big impact. I have visited a number of schools up and down the country where this funding has empowered teachers to put in place creative new initiatives that are tackling the attainment gap in their schools right now.

"I hope this second round of funding will help schools to build on that progress, supported by our reforms to education that will raise standards for all and put excellence and equity at the heart of Scottish education."

Neil Lowden, the headteacher of St Francis RC Primary School, said the cash from the scheme "has had a significant impact on how I have managed my school in terms of the absolute focus on raising attainment in literacy and numeracy as well as improving outcomes in health and wellbeing for the children in St Francis".

He added: "There is no doubt that having this extra resource has allowed me to further develop the work of the Scottish Attainment Challenge to provide high quality targeted interventions to close the attainment gap.

"As a headteacher, the Pupil Equity Funding has fundamentally allowed our school community to make a real and significant difference to the lives of the children who come through our doors every day.

"I am delighted to see a further commitment being made by the Scottish Government and I very much welcome Mr Swinney's announcement."