Rural schools 'may struggle to survive'

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The Independent Online

Rural primary schools may be forced to close as a result of ministers pumping more money into disadvantaged areas, it emerged yesterday.

The first research into the impact of the Government's "pupil premium" – giving schools extra cash for every disadvantaged pupil they take in – shows some secondary schools in deprived inner cities could get as much as £1m extra. By contrast, small rural schools – especially if they have few pupils on free school meals – may struggle to survive.

The research was carried out by Education Data Surveys, whose director John Howson said: "Small rural schools will not get much extra and, if they have falling pupil rolls and are with a budget deficit, they will struggle. They may face closure." The Government announced an extra £2.5bn a year to finance the "pupil premium", but the Education Secretary Michael Gove said some schools will suffer cuts to pay for it.