Pupil Deprivation Grant to distribute £32m in Wales

Schools are to receive a share of £32.4m in funding to help the least well-off pupils in Wales.

The Pupil Deprivation Grant promises to pass the money directly to schools, based on the number of children eligible for free school meals.

Officials said the cash was equal to £450 for every pupil in a school eligible for free meals.

The cash is part of a deal agreed by Lib Dems in return for supporting Labour's Welsh government budget.

Details of the scheme will be unveiled by First Minister Carwyn Jones.

He will outline the scheme when he officially opens the new £9.3m Ysgol yr Hendre in Caernarfon on Thursday.

"This new money is a major boost for our schools and has one clear aim - to reduce the link between deprivation and educational attainment," said Mr Jones.

"The Welsh government is taking practical action to deliver better educational opportunities for our most disadvantaged children.

"We will work closely with schools to make sure this grant makes a real difference to the life chances of those who need extra support."

Under the scheme, schools in Cardiff, for instance, will share £4m in 2012-13, £3.3m in Rhondda Cynon Taf, £1.3m in Wrexham, and £1.2m in Flintshire.

The Welsh government has also stressed that each individual school will be able to decide how it spends its allocation of money to best improve attainment.

'Key policy'

Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg said it was a key Lib Dem policy.

"I am delighted to see governments in Westminster, and now Cardiff, targeting additional money at children from disadvantaged backgrounds."

Philip Dixon, from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: "In these financially straightened times it is good to see some real extra money going to those who need it most."

"Fundamental societal changes need to take place before we eradicate the immoral link between income and life chances, but this money will help children here and now who find themselves handicapped by their parents."

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