THERE has been a double boost for Cumbria’s schools after the announcement of two multi-million pound packages.

The government has promised £15 million to increase pupil premium funding country-wide meaning more than 13,000 Cumbrian pupils will benefit.

And in Westmorland and Lonsdale 1,130 young people will be given an extra £1.25 million worth of help and support – £500,000 more than was previously allocated last July.

The pupil premium was introduced in April 2011 for pupils in England from low-income families.

Every primary school pupil currently eligible for free school meals will now receive £1,300.

The government will also be introducing a higher rate of £1,900 for looked-after children.

South Lakes MP Tim Farron said: “As a dad I know what a little extra help can do, so this funding is really welcome. Knowing that thousands of young people are getting the help and support they need is fantastic news.

“I know that the funds that we have helped secure will give local young people the chance to learn and hopefully open many doors and make a massive difference.

“Education is the essential investment in a young person’s life – we need to make sure we allow every child to reach their full potential and I know that this funding is a step in the right direction.”

Elsewhere, thousands more school places could now be on the way after £8 million was pledged by government.

Cumbria County Council has a three year allocation of funding and will be planning ahead to ensure every child has a school place.

Mr Farron added: “This money will help ensure every child can fulfil their potential. Many schools in rural areas are bound to have more school places, but some schools have beyond their limit and are over-subscribed.

“Given the success of our schools in South Lakeland, I would hope a large chunk of that money comes here to help them build on that.”