Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Charity demands more cash for kids

Stormont ministers must invest more to improve the education of Northern Ireland’s poorest children, Save the Children said today.

Launching its Better Odds at School campaign, Fergus Cooper, the charity’s head in Northern Ireland, highlighted the link between deprivation at home and poor academic achievement.

He said that, despite repeated political promises of action, the achievement gap between rich and poor remains too wide.

Last year’s GCSE results revealed that only 29.7% of the poorest children here got five good GCSE passes, compared to 63.6% of their better-off classmates.

Education is one of the key planks of the Child Poverty Act 2010 and the Coalition Government is committed to paying an additional premium for disadvantaged pupils in England and Wales from outside the schools’ budget.

The size of the contribution is likely to be revealed soon after the Comprehensive Spending Review announcement on October.

Mr Cooper said: “It’s simply wrong that at every stage of schooling, Northern Ireland’s poorest children do worse and make less progress than their better-off classmates.”

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