Scottish Lib Dems outline £17m boost for looked after children in school
Investment pledge comes on top of the £170m 'pupil premium' already set out by Willie Rennie
The Scottish Liberal Democrat leader last night pledged to increase spending on their flagship ‘pupil premium’ plan by a tenth in a bid to strengthen support for looked after children.
Willie Rennie announced that schools will be given a £17m pot to support up to 12,000 looked after children living north of the border if the Lib Dems find themselves in government after May 5.
Looked after children obtain lower qualification levels on average with 40 per cent having one or more qualification at SCQF level 5 or above compared to 84 per cent of all school leavers.
The funding comes on top of the £170m a year already committed by the Lib Dems to support pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, with £1,400 and £900 for primary and secondary pupils respectively.
The scheme will be funded via an increase in income tax rates of 1p across all bands, which the party has said will be invested in nurseries, schools and colleges if elected in next month’s Holyrood election.
Rennie, who was speaking at a Church of Scotland hustings in Edinburgh last night, said: “I want every young person to achieve their potential and get on in life and that includes looked after children who don’t always get the best start.
“The Church of Scotland and many others have long been concerned about the life chances for looked after children. For them, growing up can be incredibly challenging - they are less likely to do well at school, more likely to suffer from mental ill health and more likely to be socially excluded.
“That’s why on top of the £170 million pupil premium we have already set out, Scottish Liberal Democrats will invest a further £17 million in a pupil premium for looked after children. It will be worth £1,400 for each pupil and teachers will decide how it should be spent.
“For decades the state has failed the children in its care. Our pupil premium will be an important step towards ending this national shame.”
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