Free schools will receive almost twice as much state funding for taking a poor pupil rather than a child from a more well-off background.
It is the pupil premium on steroids.
Just look how the numbers compare. Under the coalition plans, all state schools will receive around £430 extra for each pupil on free school meals.
That rises significantly for free schools. A primary school pupil from a poor background will generate £2,415 more for the school than the basic £3,175 paid for each child.
This is apparently to make up for the money that local authorities funnel to schools that take on more poor children.
You’d think that a statistic like this would be relentlessly used by ministers as evidence of their commitment to poor children — particularly given the fears that Free Schools will become Free Middle Class Schools.
But when Chris Cook rang the department with the figure, a few senior figures didn’t believe him — even though the calculation was based on the department’s own ready reckoner. Such is life in Whitehall.