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Clegg to outline summer school plan

Children at risk of becoming the next generation of rioters will be offered summer school places to keep them "on the right path", Nick Clegg is to tell the Liberal Democrat conference.

The Deputy Prime Minister will announce that £50 million of Pupil Premium cash will be devoted to getting up to 100,000 pupils from deprived backgrounds on the two-week courses.

He will highlight the plan as part of a personal "charge for social mobility" in a bid to reassure activists that Liberal Democrat values have survived the party joining the Tory-led Government.

Closing an annual gathering punctuated by increasingly vocal attacks on coalition colleagues by senior figures, Mr Clegg will say he is battling "those who do so well out of the status quo". Party president Tim Farron won a standing ovation for warning sharing power with the Tories had "tainted" the party.

Mr Clegg however has urged grassroots members to "stop beating themselves up" about the move and focus instead on the potential for stamping Lib Dem influence on Government policy.

In his keynote speech, he will tell them that fairness remains what he "cares most about" and pledge to fight for it despite backing cuts and austerity measures.

"People keep telling me that it's too hard. That it's futile to push for fairness into the headwinds of an economic downturn, or that it will just take too long and I should find some politically convenient 'quick wins' instead," he will tell the annual gathering in Birmingham.

"But for liberals the only struggles worth having are the uphill ones. Allowing schools to put poorer children at the front of the queue for admissions. Making universities open their doors to everyone. Making firms work harder to get women on their boards. Breaking open internships."

Setting out the summer school plans, Mr Clegg will say: "Too many of these young people had simply fallen through the cracks. Not just this summer but many summers ago when they lost touch with their own future. So often the people who have gone off the rails are the ones who were struggling years earlier."

Although schools will not be forced to put on summer schools, any that do not will lose part of their share of Pupil Premium cash - worth a total of £2.5 billion a year by 2015.


From Belfast Telegraph