THE GAP between pupils in Wales receiving free school meals and their peers is continuing to close, according to the latest official figures released on December 8.
The statistics show that since 2009, the gap between children eligible for free school meals achieving A* to C in GCSE Maths, Science and English and their fellow pupils has fallen. In Science, it has more than halved.
Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has announced the amount of money spent on the youngest disadvantaged pupils is set to double.
The Welsh Government is investing more than £90m in the Pupil Deprivation Grant, including doubling the support provided to disadvantaged pupils aged three and four. This will mean funding to support those eligible will jump from £300 to £600 for the youngest learners eligible; this could benefit some 15,000 pupils.
Kirsty Williams said: “These figures show once again that the performance of pupils eligible for free school meals is consistently improving and I want to thank children, parents and teachers for all their hard work to achieve this.
“I am determined that we continue to break the link between a child’s social background and how they do at school. Improving the attainment of those on free school meals is not only good for those pupils individually, it also raises standards overall. That is why we are increasing investment in the Pupil Deprivation Grant that is making a real difference to the lives of children from less well-off communities. We still have a long way to go to make sure every child has a fair start in life and the same opportunity as others to succeed.”