Headteachers to be handed £120m to tackle attainment gap

John Swinney visited Dalmarnock Primary School in Glasgow  to unveil the Pupil Equity Fund. Picture: Contributed
John Swinney visited Dalmarnock Primary School in Glasgow to unveil the Pupil Equity Fund. Picture: Contributed
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Almost every school in the country is in line for a funding boost to help headteachers improve standards and close the gap in attainment between rich and poor areas of Scotland.

The money is part of a £120 million Scottish Government drive which was set out by education secretary John Swinney yesterday. About 2,300 schools will get some funding, with poorer areas enjoying the lion’s share.

We are providing additional ring-fenced funding which will enable individual schools to target support where it is needed the most

John Swinney

Glasgow will receive about £21.6m, with St Andrew’s Secondary School in the east of the city getting the highest individual allocation of £354,000.

The cash will allow heads to target the areas where most support is needed in their school, including taking on more teachers, buying in more IT equipment or even securing extra tuition for some pupils.

Mr Swinney said yesterday: “This government has made clear our priority is to close the poverty-related attainment gap and our new £120m Pupil Equity Funding is aimed at doing just that.

“We are providing additional ring-fenced funding which will enable individual schools to target support where it is needed the most.

“The allocations I am announcing today will let parents, teachers and school leaders see how much ­funding their schools will receive in 2017-18 to help break the ­inter-generational cycle of deprivation.”

The amount of cash each school receives is linked to the number of youngsters who meet the criteria for free school meals, with head teachers being given about £1,200 per pupil, according to the Scottish Government.

Schools in the Moray area are in line for a total of £1,270,800, while £9,787,200 will go to schools in Fife, £8,871,600 to North Lanarkshire, £7,867,200 to South Lanarkshire, and £7,472,400 will help schools in the Edinburgh City Council area.

The EIS, Scotland’s largest teaching union, said it welcomed the cash, but stressed that it must not replace schools’ core funding from local authorities.

Labour and the Greens said the money was being awarded at a time when councils are facing budget cuts.

Labour education spokesman Daniel Johnson said: “The SNP sums simply don’t add up on schools funding. Ministers cannot cut the gap between the richest and the rest while they slash £327m from local education budgets across Scotland.”

The Tories voiced concerns that the 133 schools missing out on funding is proportionately higher than England.