SCHOOLS in Helensburgh and Lomond will receive a share of more than £325,000 in pupil equity funding from the Scottish Government in 2018-19.

But the sum is £18,000 less than the money paid out in the area last year.

The government announced details this week of the second batch of funding, aimed at closing the poverty-related attainment gap.

Teachers and school leaders will have the power to decide how to use the cash, which is allocated based on the number of P1-S3 pupils eligible and registered for free school meals.

A total of £120 million is being allocated to 2,387 schools across Scotland.

The largest sum in Helensburgh and Lomond will go to the area’s largest school, Hermitage Academy, which will receive £69,600 – the third biggest sum in Argyll and Bute, behind Dunoon Grammar and Oban High, even though Hermitage is the largest school in the area by pupil numbers.

Among the area’s primary schools, sums allocated range from £46,440 earmarked for Hermitage Primary in Helensburgh to £9,720 for Cardross Primary.

Three primary schools in the area – Garelochhead, Rosneath and Kilcreggan – will all receive slightly more than in 2017-18, but for the second year in a row Arrochar Primary will receive nothing at all from the fund.

The sums to be allocated to Parklands School in Helensburgh and to Luss Primary are not made public in the figures due to the small number of pupils at each school.

Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, Argyll and Bute Council’s policy lead for education, said: “Whilst £120 million is a substantial amount of money, we need to bear in mind that Glasgow has been awarded £20 million of this, whilst Argyll and Bute is to receive £1.4 million.

“This funding is an opportunity for our head teachers, parent councils and school staff to work together and do their bit to tackle inequality issues and rural deprivation in Argyll and Bute.

“Every child deserves to have the same opportunities, regardless of their background.

“It is important that we tackle disadvantage and deprivation to close the attainment gap and ensure our young people have the best start in life.

“We need to be creative with this, and we need strong, robust projects from our schools which will have a long lasting effect. This is our opportunity to make a real difference to young people’s lives.”

A government spokeswoman confirmed that the ‘sum per pupil’ had not changed from last year’s rate of £1,200

The spokeswoman also pointed out that a number of schools had received ‘top-up’ money to ensure any reduction in PEF was no more than 10 per cent of last year’s allocation.

Three primary schools in Helensburgh and Lomond – Cardross, Hermitage and Rhu – fall into that category.

John Swinney, cabinet secretary for education, said: “Every child should have the best possible start in life, no matter their background.

“Our priority is to close the poverty-related attainment gap. This £120 million of pupil equity funding is aimed at doing just that.”

The totals for Helensburgh and Lomond’s schools, including top-up funds where applicable, are as follows: Arrochar PS zero; Cardross PS £9,720; Colgrain PS £45,600; Garelochhead PS £15,600; Hermitage Academy £69,600; Hermitage PS £46,440; John Logie Baird PS £32,400; Kilcreggan PS £15,600; Rhu PS £19,440; Rosneath PS £32,400; St Joseph’s PS £38,400; Luss and Parklands not disclosed.