Wednesday 9 January 2013

Cash & Wake-up Call

I was interested to read Paul Cassell's report in today's Reading Post which says Schools Minister David Laws wrote last month to Reading Borough Council (RBC) as well as 14 other councils, requesting an urgent reply asking for RBC to set out plans on how to improve the town's schools' performance.

KS2 Local Authority 2012 extract
The letter was prompted by RBC coming in the worst performing quarter in the country in last year's SATs results for children receiving free school meals (a measure of deprivation).

The Conservative led government has agreed to fund the pupil premium for all 259 children taking a free meal in an attempt to narrow the attainment gap between these children from deprived homes and those more advantaged.  The gap is 23% between Reading's children achieving at least level four in both English & Maths at Key Stage 2, one of the biggest gaps in the country.  Here is the link to the DfE's KS2 results table.

The confirmation of funding from David Laws is very welcome and I hope his letter will force the Labour administration to focus on reducing the gap in attainment.  The Minster said "We simply will not stand back and allow failure on this scale to continue".