THOUSANDS of pounds worth of grants are being awarded today to help pupils who fell behind in literacy and maths before they left primary school.
Secondary schools across the town will receive £500 for each year 7 pupil who was not at the expected level in literacy and maths when they started at the school.
The Government is awarding a total of £184,500 in Swindon, which will help fund additional help through either individual tuition or intensive support in small groups.
Churchfields Academy is being given £17,000. Headteacher Steve Flavin said: “The education of our young people depends on their ability to perform well in these two core subjects.
“Churchfields Academy adds significant value and more students than ever before are passing GCSE exams with top grades.
“This additional funding will be targeted directly at individual students and we will work closely with our primary partners to identify each child so that we can put in the specific support that they need.
“This tailored intervention will aim to ensure that all students attending Churchfields Academy become confident in the use of English and maths, both at school and in later life.”
The catch-up premium will support every Year 7 pupil who has not achieved at least Level 4 – the expected level – at Key Stage 2 in either or both literacy or maths.
Lydiard Park Academy will receive £20,000, Warneford School in Highworth, will get £13,000 and St Joseph’s Catholic College, in Swindon, will get £20,000, Commonweal School will get £20,500, Ridgeway School will receive £16,000 and Swindon Academy will receive £26,000. Kingsdown School will get £28,500. Headteacher, Wendy Conaghan, said: “It is positive that we are getting additional funding but it is sad to see children are underachieveing when they are coming to us.
“We go out to primary schools and support the children before they come here.
“We will receive funding for the children who require it.
“Throwing money at things doesn’t always help but it will allow us to teach those children in small groups and give one to one tuition.”
Dorcan Academy is being given £23,500. Associate headteacher, Jane Aplin, said: “We are delighted with the extra funding because it just comes at the right time and it is an area that we are putting a lot of work into already.
“At the moment when the children come in below Level 4 we put them in small teaching groups with expert teachers and they also have one to one tuition.
“It means the children make quite quick progress. This money will enable us to extend that.
“We also work closely with our primary schools and we know the children’s abilities so they can make progress.”
Royal Wootton Bassett Academy, which comes under Wiltshire, will receive £31,500.
Coun David Renard, the cabinet member for children’s services, said: “It is great news that we are getting this money. £184,500 across nine of our secondary schools will certainly help.
“I hope the schools make really good use of it in order to enable those young people it is targeted at to improve.
“It is so important for employers that they get young people who are able to read and write and work with numbers up to a certain standard.
“I really hope this will provide good value for money.
“I look forward to reviewing the outcomes that those schools have been able to achieve once they have invested this money in our young people.