Today (Wednesday 10 July 2019), the Welsh Assembly’s Children, Young People and Education Committee releases the findings of its school funding inquiry, looking into the sufficiency and distribution of school funding in Wales.
School leaders’ union NAHT, which represents the majority of schools in Wales, welcomes the recommendations in the report, especially the call for a full government review of school funding, which NAHT called for at its Annual Conference earlier this year.
Ruth Davies, NAHT Cymru Vice-President, said: “NAHT Cymru has been calling on Welsh Government for some time to urgently review school funding, because the current system is out-dated, not fit for purpose, and failing to deliver equity for our children and young people.
“This is all about what is right for our children and young people. The report shows that the committee clearly understand that schools throughout Wales are facing the unenviable task of trying to maintain and improve standards against a backdrop of increasing pressure on resources and an unprecedented scale of reform.”
Dean Taylor, NAHT Cymru President, said: “Every child in Wales deserves sufficient funding within core school budgets to ensure they receive equal access to high quality education. NAHT Cymru still believes that it is right that additional targeted funding is made available for disadvantaged pupils, but this funding should be on top of the basic per-pupil element. Unfortunately, as things currently stand, we know that this ‘additional pot’ usually ends up plugging the gap found in the shortfall within core school budgets.”
Damon McGarvie, NAHT Cymru Regional Secretary, said: “NAHT Cymru welcomes the committee’s call for an independent review of school budgets, because it is now vital if we are to improve the current unsustainable situation. And we agree with the report’s call that it is also vital that the school improvement work of the Regional Consortia and Local Authorities is proven to show value for money for pupils. However, despite the challenges outlined in the report, school leaders also still believe that a change to the formulae used to calculate school budgets is required.”
Rob Williams, director of NAHT Cymru, said: “Reasons provided from relevant stakeholders for not changing the current formulae appear to be that there will be winners and losers, that the current overall insufficiency and the complexities involved mean now is not a good time. But NAHT Cymru believes that there are already winners and losers in the system, and that even if immediately implementing such an improved national approach might be undesirable at present, work on improved formulae should not wait until more money appears in the system. If additional school funding does subsequently appear in the near future, we need to be ready to implement a new, improved formulae at exactly the same time, or we will once again be playing catch up. Only then can we be sure that every child and young person in Wales is receiving a sufficient, equitable and transparent basic level of investment, irrespective of their postcode.”
First published 08 July 2019