‘Level playing field’ cash to help poorer pupils

Editorial image
Editorial image

A cash boost for toddlers from low-income families will create a ‘level playing field’ – according to the county’s education chief.

The Early Years Premium is being rolled out nationally next year but Northants has been handed £500,000 to pilot the scheme in the New Year.

It will mean the county’s nurseries and childminders will be some of the first to benefit from the government’s £50 million Dedicated Schools Grant.

The scheme aims to narrow the gap in attainment between children from poorer backgrounds and their more well-off peers.

Matt Golby, cabinet member for learning, skills and education, said early years settings and schools will get just over £300 a year for eligible pupils.

He said: “We know that children from poorer backgrounds are less likely to achieve the same educational attainment as other children so we hope that this funding can go some way towards creating a level playing field for all children, irrespective of their circumstances.

“They’ll be able to use their expertise and judgement to decide how best to spend the funding to help children prepare to start school and narrow the gap in attainment between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers.”

The pilot scheme will include checking eligibility systems, how funding is spread and how best to use it.