Clegg to announce school funding pledge on visit to North Devon

Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg will today [Thursday] announce a major funding commitment to boost education in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset. On a visit to North Devon with Nick Harvey MP, Nick Clegg will set out the Liberal Democrat manifesto commitme

Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg will today [Thursday] announce a major funding commitment to boost education in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset.

On a visit to North Devon with Nick Harvey MP, Nick Clegg will set out the Liberal Democrat manifesto commitment for a Pupil Premium that would invest around �85m of extra cash in South West schools, raising funding for disadvantaged pupils to private school levels.

Full nation-wide details of the Pupil Premium pledge, part of a �2.5bn spending commitment, will be announced on Monday.

Recent figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats show that:


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o Devon is in the bottom 10 authorities for school funding

o Cornwall and Somerset are both in the bottom 25 of the school funding league table

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o Pupils in Devon attract 10 per cent less funding than the national average

o Only 23 per cent of the poorest pupils in Devon achieved five good GCSEs, including English and maths, compared with more than half of their better-off classmates

o The gap in academic achievement between rich and poor is 31 per cent.

o In Devon, Cornwall and Somerset last year, fewer than a quarter of those children entitled to free school meals achieved five decent GCSEs including English and maths.

Under the Pupil Premium the Liberal Democrats would invest an extra �27.3 million in Devon.

Nick Clegg said: "It's nothing short of a scandal that children in the South West continue to lose out under Labour. Schools in the South West receive significantly less money than the national average.

"With this unfairness in funding it's no surprise there is such a gap in achievement between children from the poorest backgrounds and those families who are better off.

"Under our plans, schools in the South West would get a further �85m which they could use to cut class sizes and provide more individual support. Only when we get education funding back on track will be able to give all our children the fair start they deserve."

Mr Clegg is visiting South Molton Pannier Market this morning, moving on to the My Start children's centre in Ilfracombe before conducting a question and answer session with students at Petroc College, Barnstaple, this afternoon.

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