Extra money for Suffolk pupils

SCHOOLS in Suffolk are to get an above-inflation government grant next year.The amount spent per pupil in the county is to go up from £3,160 a year to £3,372 a year - an increase of 6.

SCHOOLS in Suffolk are celebrating today after it was announced they were to be given an above-inflation government grant increase next year.

The amount spent per pupil in the county is to go up from £3,160 a year to £3,372 a year - an increase of 6.7 per cent.

That will still mean that Suffolk receives one of the lowest allocations per pupil in the country.

Next year the government plans to increase funding for pupils by a further 6.5 pc - pushing the total in Suffolk up to £3,591 per pupil.

The total allocated to schools in Suffolk will go up from £306 million this year to £324 million next year and £343 million in 2007.

This is the first year that schools have been funded directly by the Department for Education and Skills rather than relying on money channelled to them by local education authorities.

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Now schools have to “buy in” other services - like school meals, teacher training, and education support services, from local education authorities like Suffolk County Council.

Council leader Jeremy Pembroke welcomed the grant increase: “After the disappointment about the general grant settlement (for other county council services) on Monday this was a very pleasant surprise”

The increased grant should be aimed especially at giving extra attention to primary school pupils who need one-to-one teaching and to offering extra support to pupils aged between 11 and 14.

Northgate headteacher Neil Watts, who is on the headteachers' budget committee, was delighted by the settlement.

He said: “This is certainly at the high end of our expectations and does show that the government has listened when said Suffolk had the same kind of problems to other areas.

“In the past we have got the impression that civil servants in London saw Suffolk as an area that didn't have any issues and therefore didn't need much money for specific problems.

“It seems now that they are recognising we have similar needs to other local education areas.”

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