In a bid to help students from poorer families, the British government is set to award disadvantaged students an extra £58 each.
The Department of Education announced an increase in the Pupil Premium - a scheme whereby schools receive extra money for every child eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) - at £488 for the year. The increase in the premium is because the number of children who have registered for the FSM scheme this year has been lower than expected.
"The Pupil Premium will benefit poorer pupils, providing extra money directly for those pupils who need it the most," said Sara Teather, Minister of State for Children and Families.
"We know that just 27 per cent of pupils on free school meals get five good GCSE grades compared with 54 per cent of non-free school meal pupils. This extra funding will help tackle this inequality and enable schools to provide the extra support they need to reach their full potential," said Teather in a statement.
News of the hike in premium comes after ministers announced recently that the total funding available for the scheme, for the year 2012-13 will be increased to £1.25bn, which is double the amount for 2011-12. It is expected to increase again next year, and continue doing so every year, until 2014-15, when it will be worth £2.5bn.
Research suggests that children from lower-income families do not perform as well as those from more privileged backgrounds. The Pupil Premium scheme was started (over and above existing funding) to help schools reduce these inequalities.
Children who have been looked after by local authorities for more than six months also qualify for the Pupil Premium. However, just 12 per cent of these children achieve five good GCSE grades, including English and Mathematics.
The funding premium for children of service families will remain at £200 per pupil for 2011-12.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg recently announced a new £50 million Pupil Premium summer school program to help the most disadvantaged pupils make the transition from primary to secondary school. The scheme will help up to 100,000 pupils per year. They will benefit from two weeks of additional teaching through the scheme.