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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-12747: Jamie Greene (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 16 November 2017

To ask the Scottish Government how it will respond to reports that schools in rural areas are far less likely than urban schools to receive aid from the Pupil Equity Fund due to its definition of poverty.

Answered by: John Swinney 24 November 2017

Through the Scottish Attainment Challenge we have committed £750 million over the course of this parliament to close the poverty related attainment gap for our pupils from the most deprived areas. This funding includes £120m of Pupil Equity funding in 2017-18 which has extended the reach of the Scottish Attainment Challenge to every local authority in Scotland and provides additional resources to the majority of schools in rural communities. The funding has been allocated on the basis of pupils in P1-S3 known to be eligible for free school meals, a recognised proxy for families affected by poverty. There is a higher proportion of smaller schools in rural areas and this may impact on the amount of Pupil Equity Funding a schools receives. We would encourage local authorities and schools to ensure all those families eligible for free school meals are registered.

We are committed to developing national programmes to further extend the reach of the Scottish Attainment Challenge and are engaging with stakeholders to consider the impact of rural deprivation on attainment.