A team at Lewisham Council has run a data analysis pilot project that has reportedly produced an extra £1.2 million funding to support local schools.
The insight and delivery/data science team analysed benefits and education data to identify over 500 families in the London borough whose schools were potentially eligible to receive money, but which had not been claimed, under the Government’s Pupil Premium scheme.
The council said the work was completed in a short time to ensure applications could be made before the cut-off data of 5 October.
In line with General Data Protection Regulation procedures, the families were contacted by post, informed they were potentially eligible for the funding and the council would apply on their behalf unless they decided to opt out.
The whole exercise cost under £800 for postage, so every £1 spent generated £1,500 in funding. The £1.2 million will be allocated directed to the schools with the families identified on the roll.
A spokesperson for Lewisham said the pilot has been deemed a huge success and that the council is now looking at other areas for similar projects.
Cllr Chris Barnham, cabinet member for children and young people, said: "Our schools are seeing every day how difficult the cost of living crisis is for families. We’re doing what we can to help as a local council but with the cuts from central government, there’s a limit on how much we can do.
“That’s why this kind of innovation and creative approach is so important - cutting through red tape and doing everything we can to make sure our children and families get the help they’re entitled to. It’s also fantastic to discover how much more funding our schools are entitled to because of this project.”