Deputy PM to claim 'pupil premium' victory

Clegg seeks to heal divided party
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Indy Politics

Nick Clegg will this week attempt to heal the wounds caused by the Liberal Democrats' row over tuition fees by announcing victory in another of the party's most critical policy areas.

The Government will announce that English schools will receive an extra £430 for each poorer pupil they enrol in the next school year.

Details of the "pupil premium", days after a rebellion over the Lib Dems' decision to dump its opposition to university tuition fees, will be seen as an olive branch to the left wing of the party. The political significance of the move has been demonstrated by the fact that the under-pressure Lib Dem leader has been given the chance to break the news, before the announcement is officially made by the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, tomorrow.

The development comes after it emerged that David Cameron has agreed to put off a decision on the "control order" system for handling terror suspects, after the Lib Dem leadership warned that they could not guarantee the support of their backbench MPs.

The pupil premium policy, one of four key commitments in the party's general election manifesto, was proposed "to boost education opportunities for every child", through measures including cutting class sizes and attracting better teachers.

It will guarantee that each pupil on free school meals in England will be worth an extra £430 to their school, on top of the existing pupil funding. Overall spending on the premium is due to reach £2.5bn a year by 2014-15, starting with £625m next year.

Mr Clegg said: "By targeting money directly at our poorest children, the coalition government is starting on the long and hard road to breaking down one of the most socially segregated education systems in the developed world."