Education funding boost


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A NEW scheme will see more than £130,000 injected into the early years care provision across North Somerset, and will benefit more than 400 children.

The new Government scheme aims to help the most disadvantaged three and four-year-olds living in the region, hoping to close the attainment gap between children from low income families and their peers.

The early years pupil premium will provide ‘critical’ grants for 438 children in North Somerset, giving £300 per eligible child to their care provider.

North Somerset Council’s executive member for children and young people’s services Jeremy Blatchford described it as a ‘massively important’ move.

He said: “Look at a child and think what a wondrous life lies ahead for them.

“Consider what great potential and creativity lies within. The first few years are critical, defining much of their future.”

He also noted the importance of emphasis being placed on tailoring education for each individual child’s requirements.

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He said: “Now we have got to be good enough, and skilled enough, to work out what the individual actually needs, in this case we have got 438 individuals.

“We have got to teach children to have confidence and belief in themselves. Then you don’t only stop problems happening, but you also give them that real boost that makes them so much better at everything else.

“I think it’s critical to step in, support and give that particular family a lift, and that individual child a lift from the start.

“It is massively important and other problems tend to melt away.”

But, Cllr Blatchford admitted the scheme’s benefits will take time to be realised, and said: “This investment, the innovation and dedication of staff and parents will take years to be fully realised, children starting today may not leave education until 2035.”