Cash award to help struggling pupils

More than £200,000 will go to schools in North Somerset

More than £200,000 will go to schools in North Somerset - Credit: Archant

SCHOOL pupils needing to catch up with their fellow classmates have received a helping hand from the Government, which has agreed more than £200,000 of funding for North Somerset.

The money, worth £201,500, will be given to 13 secondary schools and academies across the district to help year seven pupils who did not achieve the expected level of literacy and maths when they left primary school.

The funding, which equates to £500 per student, will allow the youngsters to catch up with their classmates through extra classes and individual tuition.

Clevedon School will receive £23,000, Gordano and Backwell schools £21,500 each, Nailsea School £13,500, St Katherine’s School £9,000 and Ravenswood School £4,500.

The schools will be able to choose how to use the cash, which may be used to support small-group tuition with new classroom materials and resources, holiday support for intensive catch-up or to provide extra services and materials to those offered by the schools, including tutor services, computer-based learning or online support.

Gordano School in Portishead has been running a programme called Boost for the past five years, which provides a year six environment for pupils to catch up in.

Headteacher Gary Lewis said: “We have previously paid for Boost from the main school budget, so this funding will allow us to maintain our capacity to offer targeted and specialist catch-up teaching to students who have fallen behind in their rate of expected progress.

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“Boost has been a brilliant success and we feel very committed to the ethos and methodology that Helen Skipp, our Boost teacher, has developed with her class.

“It is problematic for school leaders such as myself when the Government gives out funding for specific projects in the middle of the year, as although this means that we will have funding for the next school year, there is no commitment to it being there in the long-term.

“What I’d really welcome is clarity about funding over a longer period of time and the freedom to deploy that funding to provide for the needs of my school’s intake.”