£50m of Pupil Premium funding for disadvantaged pupils remains unclaimed by London schools

 “£50million of Pupil Premium funding from the DfE, designed  to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils and close the gap between them and their peers, is lying unclaimed by London schools”, says Brian Durrant, CEO of not-for-profit education trust  The London Grid for London (LGfL). Keen to help all children achieve their very best, Durrant is urging London parents to visit the Trust’s  Free School Meal Eligibility Checker www.fsm.lgfl.net  to ensure their child receives a nourishing lunch time meal and their school receives the funding to provide the extra support they require.  As an incentive to parents LGfL, who bulk buys Internet connectivity, associated services and engaging digital curriculum content for their 2500-strong community of schools, is offering those that register free Sophos AntiVirus software for the PCs and laptops used by their children at home.

Nationally, it is estimated £350million of the £2.5billion funding remains unclaimed by 200,000 parents and schools. Under the current system, if a child is registered by their parents for Free School Meals, their school will also automatically receive Pupil Premium funding – currently £1,300 per pupil for Primary school children, £935 per pupil in Secondary schools and £1,900 for Looked After Children.  Schools have become concerned at the loss of Pupil Premium since the introduction of universal free schools meals for children in ‘Key Stage 1’ (up to 7 years old) has removed the need for parents to apply.

Parents enter their details on the website, which links to the Department for Education’s checking system, the Department for Work and Pensions and HMRC. The site notifies them immediately whether or not they qualify. A report is sent directly to the school administrator informing them that there is a child eligible for Pupil Premium funding, for which they can then apply. The child does not even have to accept the Free School Meals for their school to qualify for the Pupil Premium funding.

Amanda Bates, Deputy Head at Sir John Lillie Primary School in Hammersmith, whose school has been using the Eligibility Checker said “we have been able to target parents new to the school to ensure we are receiving pupil premium money that will benefit their child. Overall, the uptake from parents has been high due to the quick and simple process and we have even held sessions to help parents less confident with IT use the site – such is the importance of receiving Pupil Premium money to our school. ”

Schools within London who sit within the LGfL community wishing to encourage applications can promote the Eligibility Checker to parents by publicising the following web address: www.fsm.lgfl.net  

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