Willie Rennie To Outline £170m Pupil Premium Plan

26 February 2016, 07:15

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie is to outline plans for a £170 million pupil premium scheme to "put money into every classroom'' in Scotland.

Mr Rennie will use his speech to the Scottish Liberal Democrat conference in Edinburgh to reveal more details about how he would spend the £475 million raised from increasing income tax north of the border by 1p.

Now Holyrood has the ability to set a Scottish rate of income tax, the Liberal Democrats argue the levy should be raised in a bid to tackle the attainment gap between pupils from different backgrounds.

The party has already pledged the "penny for education'' will be spent on expanding nursery care, repairing colleges, preventing school cutbacks and a pupil premium.

Mr Rennie will reveal more details of the plans to party activists, saying primary schools would get £1,400 for every child who needs extra support, while £900 would go to secondary schools for each student from a deprived background.

This will show what people will get for their "winning investment'', he will say.

He will pledge: "We will invest £170 million in our schools with a pupil premium. This will be paid directly to schools to raise attainment every year.

"It will be worth £1,400 for every pupil who needs extra support at primary school - wherever they live in the country. And £900 for every secondary school pupil from a disadvantaged background.

"Our pupil premium will put money into every classroom. Every school gets money for children from poorer backgrounds. That's enough for more teachers, for one-to-one help, for homework clubs or for extra equipment.''

He will insist: "That is how you close the attainment gap. By making the investment. By giving the life chances. And by backing your words up with action.''