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Invest in pupils today or fail a generation of Welsh young people - Welsh Lib Dems

December 8, 2009 3:44 PM

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling for urgent Welsh Government action to rethink the systems used for funding education in Wales. The call comes as NUT members protest against real-terms budget cuts for schools and the continued underfunding of schoolchildren in Wales, compared to England.

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats commented: "The funding of education in Wales has become a national disgrace. A Child in Wales is still funded by nearly £500 less(1) than a child in England. As a result, a 1,000 pupil school in Wales receives half a million pounds less funding than the same school in England. These large funding deficits leave Welsh schools unable to maintain adequate staffing, support and learning resources. We are more likely to fall behind further, than catch up with England at this rate."

"The First Minister Elect has promised to 'child-proof all Assembly Government policies' (2) but the crisis in Welsh education is here and it is now. Class sizes are already being forced upwards, curriculums already narrowed, after-school activities have ended and classroom support staff let go as a direct result of existing funding shortfalls."

"It' s the budget agreed today that matters, a budget that slashes education spending but protects government admin budgets and ineffective use of Welsh NHS funding. The Welsh Liberal Democrats believe the Welsh government could act now to remove complex and unnecessary grant-funding structures and divert funds on a pupil needs basis, towards those that need the most support."

"As the First Minister Elect says in his leadership manifesto: ' The test for me is simple. We must be able to ensure we can look our children and our grandchildren in the eye when we make these decisions' (3) Today, in agreeing the new Assembly budget, Welsh Labour has the opportunity to look Wales' young people and our teachers, squarely in the eye." Ends.

Notes

1. £495 funding gap: Local Authority Education Budgets for 2008-09: Wales and England Comparison (09/08 -08/09 budgeted spend per pupil England £5,687, Wales £5,192.) http://wales.gov.uk/topics/statistics/headlines/locgov2009/hdw200901283/?lang=en 2. Carwyn ' A Time to Lead ' Welsh Labour Party leadership manifesto. P12 3. Carwyn ' A Time to Lead ' Welsh Labour Party leadership manifesto. P7

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