Speaking ahead of Welsh Liberal Democrat conference, Education Minister Kirsty Williams has announced a £3.4m boost of the PDG-Access scheme to support families meet the costs of the school day.
The announcement will provide support to an additional 14,000 learners.
Introduced in 2018, PDG-Access helps families cover the costs of school uniform, sports kits, as well as equipment for activities outside of the school. To receive the support, learners must be eligible for free school meals.
Currently, PDG-Access is worth £125 per eligible pupil entering reception class in primary school or Year 7. Today’s announcement means the scheme will be extended to include Year 3 and Year 10, and provide funding for looked after children (LAC) in every compulsory school year. Eligible families of Year 7 pupils will receive £200, instead of the current £125; relieving some of the increased costs associated with starting secondary school.
Extending the PDG was a key part of the Progressive Agreement between the First Minister and Kirsty Williams.
Commenting, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:
The Pupil Development Grant (PDG) is a key Welsh Liberal Democrat policy that supports our most disadvantaged pupils. I am delighted we have been able to extend the policy further to support families with the cost of uniforms and school equipment.
This, alongside Kirsty Williams’ pledge to introduce statutory guidance to reduce the cost of schools uniforms, will go a long way in supporting families.
Kirsty Williams AM said:
Breaking the cycle of poverty and disadvantage is paramount, and at the heart of our national mission to raise standards for all our learners.
The additional money announced today will mean that more learners will be eligible for funding, and more money will be available for parents of children transitioning from primary to secondary, which as we all know can be an expensive time.