Schools across Bradford will lose out on more than £2.2 million in grants this year, because nearly 3,000 pupils are recent migrants.
In one primary school alone there are 188 pupils classed as “new to English,” a classification that means the school loses out on almost £100,000 in government assistance.
The Government provides a “pupil premium” of £1,300 for each primary pupil and £935 for each secondary pupil who is eligible for free school meals. The money is intended to help the school improve the achievement of its most disadvantaged pupils.
Recent migrants to the UK are unable to automatically claim benefits, and this means their children are not eligible for free school meals. Because of this, schools across the district are having to find the money to support these children out of their own budgets.
In the district there are 19 schools with 50 or more pupils classed as new to English and almost every school in the district is losing out on pupil premium money. The children lose this classification after two years in the country.
Michael Jameson, the Council’s strategic director for children’s services, says the situation is one that has to be dealt with “immediately”.
Yesterday the Bradford Schools Forum met at City Hall and were given figures of how many new to English pupils were at each school, how many were not eligible for free school meals and how much “theoretical pupil premium loss” each school was experiencing this year. They heard that many of the 2,907 new to English pupils were from backgrounds where they were likely to get pupil premium, but 1,715 were not eligible.
Whetley Primary Academy in Manningham has the highest numbers of new to English pupils. Out of an estimated 710 pupils, 188 are classed as recent immigrants. Of these, 76 are not eligible for free school meals, mainly because of the restrictions on migrants claiming benefits, and this means the school is missing out on £98,800 this year. The school taking the biggest financial hit is St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Little Horton. Seventy seven out of its 104 new to English pupils are not eligible for free school meals, meaning the school misses out on £100,100 this year.
Andrew Redding, the Council’s senior school finance officer, said: “The vast majority of these new to English children have significant challenges and are either in poverty or near the poverty line. Some of these people may not be eligible for free school meals for pupil premium for some time. These pupils are not evenly distributed across the district.”