Millions ‘could be lost’ from school budgets

A total of £118 million for disadvantaged pupils could be lost from school budgets in England this year because of a government change in how this funding is calculated, new LGA analysis shows.

The pupil premium funding, which pays for free school meals and academic support, amounts to £1,345 a year for every eligible primary age pupil, and £955 for every eligible secondary age pupil.

However, for the 2021/22 financial year, this funding will be based on the October 2020 census of pupils instead of the January 2021 census.

As a result, schools with children who have become eligible for this funding during the pandemic will not receive any additional funding for another whole year.

An LGA survey of councils and analysis of government census figures shows that this change could result in a loss of pupil premium funding of around £93 million for primary schools and £25 million for secondary schools.

This equates to an average loss of around £600,000 in primary school pupil premium funding per local authority area.

The LGA is calling on the Government to change the date of pupil premium reporting to ensure that schools receive funding for all eligible pupils this year.

Cllr Teresa Heritage, Vice Chairman of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “Councils and schools want to work with the Government on education recovery and share concerns about the needs of disadvantaged children who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

“Pupil premium funding is vital to support the Government’s levelling up agenda and education recovery plans. It is imperative that the Government ensures that no school loses out in receiving this vital funding this year and that no child is left behind.”

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