ANDOVER Liberal Democrats say the coalition government gave schools in Hampshire a £28,056,000 Christmas present.

The cash is the result of an increase in the pupil premium funding, which gives extra money to schools depending on the number of children from disadvantaged backgrounds they have.

Last year’s funding was £16million.

The pupil premium is a major Liberal Democrat priority that is being delivered by the coalition government.

In Hampshire, 35,230 pupils are expected to be eligible, meaning that our schools are set to benefit from £28million funding to support disadvantaged children.

The pupil premium covers any primary or secondary school pupil that has been registered for free school meals in the past six years.

For 2013/14, the Premium will be worth £1.65bn, or £900 per pupil, in total.

Andover Lib Dem spokesman Len Gates said: “Liberal Democrats are building a strong economy and fair society where everyone can get ahead.

“To do that we need to make sure that children are not held back by poverty.

“For too long, social background has been a deciding factor in a child’s chances for the future.”

“I am proud that the Liberal Democrats are helping every child in Andover reach their full potential.

“This money does not just help the poorest children, it helps every child.

“Fewer children falling behind will mean less disruption in class and a better education.”