Liberal Democrat Party Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will have more to offer in his speech at the party conference in Brighton this week than an apology for breaking his promise to keep university fees as they were. The Daily Telegraph is reporting that Clegg will also unveil a plan to offer schools up to £500 per child to provide remediation to students who leave primary schools without the requisite knowledge to succeed in later grades.
The money can be used either on intensive summer programs or one-on-one tutoring for students who don't reach Level 4 in the Key State Two tests taken as they are about to transition out of primary schools when they turn 11. Secondary schools will be eligible to receive the grants starting this January.
The aim of the new program is to make sure that the students who fall behind in primary schools aren't permanently disadvantaged and can still catch up enough to be prepared for the rollout of more difficult tests that will take the place of the GCSEs later this decade.
"If you're a parent whose child has fallen behind; who fears they might get lost in that daunting leap from primary to secondary school and who is worried by talk about making exams tougher, let me reassure you: we will do whatever it takes to make sure your child is not left behind," he will say. "A place in a summer school; catch-up classes; one-to-one tuition; we are providing the help they need. So yes, we're raising the bar. But we're ensuring every child can clear it too."
In total, 100,000 students around Britain are projected to qualify for academic assistance provided by the funding. The money is made available in exchange for Clegg's support for Education Secretary Michael Gove's plan to roll out the new exams in 2017. In his speech, Clegg will express his views that toughening up the education system will serve to ease economic mobility within the country.
"We will only fulfil our collective economic potential if we fulfil our individual human potential," he will say.
"Yet the legacy of educational inequality in Britain is an economy operating at half power, with far too many young people never getting the qualifications they could get, never doing the jobs they could do, never earning the wages they could earn."
Achieving Level 4 is a strong predictor of future GCSE success — or, rather, failure to achieve it strongly correlates to GCSE struggles. According to The Telegraph, only about a third of the students who fail to gain the level in reading go on to earn at least five top grades in end-of-school exit exams.