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Councillor welcomes 'catch-up' cash for struggling pupils

By Katia Harston, Chief Reporter Wednesday 13th February 2013
School children working.

Pupils in Barnsley who failed to reach the expected level in literacy and maths when finishing primary school will be given intensive classes to help them catch-up and strive for better GCSEs.

 

Figures released by Barnsley Council show out of 2,366 year six pupils in the borough last year, 376 that did not attain level four in English - almost 16 per cent.

 

There were 378 pupils who failed to reach level four in maths and 247 children failed to reach the target for English and maths combined.

 

However, 305 out of the 376 who failed to reach level four in English and 296 of the 378 in maths had special educational needs.

 

Barnsley Council has now received £229,000 in funding from the government to help these children catch up.

 

The funding the authority has received is the equivalent of £500 per pupil, who will all receive additional help through individual tuition or intensive support in small groups.

 

The extra support is designed to help bring pupils up to speed so they are more likely to succeed than fall further behind.

 

It is hoped that by catching up with classmates, pupils' motivation will also be boosted, preventing disruptive behaviour that impedes learning for

others.

 

Coun Tim Cheetham, the council's cabinet spokesman for children, young people and families, welcomed the extra resources, particularly because they will be targeted at students who need extra help.

 

"I hope schools will spend the money wisely and in the way it was intended, to get all children up to an appropriate level," he said.

 

"It is also another helpful bridge to carry forward the excellent work and progress we are seeing at primary level into our secondary schools."

 

Schools minister David Laws said It is vital every child has a strong grasp of maths and a good reading ability when starting secondary education. "No pupil should be left behind," he said.

 

Schools will have the freedom to decide how best to use the money, but examples could include small-group tuition supported by new classroom materials and resources; holiday support to deliver intensive catch-up over

a short period; and additional services and materials to add to those provided by the school.

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