£50m education scheme for low-income families in North Yorkshire trial

Headteachers comment on GCSE reforms.
Headteachers comment on GCSE reforms.

Children from low-income families in North Yorkshire will be in a trial of a new investment project designed to raise their attainment.

Before the £50m is delivered across the UK to narrow the gap between three- and four-year-olds from low-income families and their classmates in April 2015, North Yorkshire is one of six counties sharing a £1m trial fund.

After this trial, North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) will receive £256,703 for 891 eligible children - just over £288 per child.

NYCC executive member for schools, 16-19-year-old education, and early years provision Coun Arthur Barker said: “It is good news that we are getting this money and I am sure it will have a benefit.

“There is research to show that the better start we can give children the more that displays in their education later, so it is very positive news.

“I think it will assist children getting the attainment they need, but as one of a number of aspects.

“It is an important thing that the money recognises the issue and hopefully schools, but also nurseries and early years providers, will be able to use it to best possible effect.”

The funding programme from the Department for Education is designed to help prevent children from low-income families falling behind, even before they have got to primary school.

This is on top of the pupil premium which has supported disadvantaged children in school since 2011.

Coun Barker added: “It does place expectations on us and we have got to test the system and provide the evidence, so there is not a free start and there are certain obligations.

“I don’t think there is any single measure that will solve all of the problems facing low-income families. What is needed is a combination of factors, incorporating things like how important a good meal is in the middle of the day, and this is another element of that.

“Schools are consistently improving and doing better for students and this is one of a combination of factors that will hopefully drive forward better results for children from low-income families.”