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Cool response from Norwich heads over pupil premium plan

Catton Grove Primary School headteacher Tim Lawes.

Catton Grove Primary School headteacher Tim Lawes.

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2009

Norwich headteachers have dismissed the government's plan to give more money to the neediest children, saying: "It won't make much difference."

A great deal has been made of the new pupil premium, which in its first year will see schools get an additional £430 for each child who qualifies for free school meals or who is in care.

Schools in the most deprived parts of Norwich will be among the county’s biggest gainers.

But the sum falls short of the £2,000 per pupil that was initially promised, and headteachers fear it will do no more than make up money lost in other parts of their budgets.

And Norfolk County Council says schools should expect to receive up to 1.5pc less from the government in 2011-12 than this year.

The schools in Norwich which will get most cash from the premium are Sewell Park College on St Clement’s Hill with £104.060, City Academy Norwich on Earlham Road with £101,910 and The Hewett School on Cecil Road, Lakenham, with £100,960.

At primary level, Catton Grove Primary on Weston Road could get £76,540, with Mile Cross Primary on Brasier Road forecast to receive £75,680.

Tim Lawes, headteacher at Catton Grove Primary, which has 492 pupils, said: “It appears that this is not going to make a significant difference.

“It does look very appealing, but set against budgetary shortfalls it doesn’t allow us to do the things we want to do. All it will do is make up a shortfall.”

Orianna Dalton is headteacher at Lakenham Primary on City Road, which has 297 pupils and is forecast to get an extra £55,470.

She said: “Obviously this sum will help us because we lost a lot of deprivation funding last year. But I don’t see that it will help us to do any more, because a lot of the government grants are changing.”

Rob Anthony, associate headteacher at The Hewett School, said: “The concern we have is that we are losing money in other places, including our sixth form, and we are worried about whether the money we get for the pupil premium will be enough.

“Schools might end up using it to offset cuts elsewhere, which is a shame.”

To see the forecast pupil premium figures for every Norwich and Norfolk school, visit eveningnews24.co.uk.

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