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Extra funding is not a pipe dream

I must put the record straight regarding the claim ("Reform or face music", TES Cymru, January 14) that the Assembly government is not putting enough money into education.

This misconception was made in relation to funding for implementation of the workload agreement. The workload agreement is not just about extra funding or employing more teachers. or bringing in supply teachers at additional cost - it is about re-assessing the way tasks are carried out and using teachers' time more efficiently and appropriately.

Schools can organise the way they work by assigning duties to other staff and cutting out unnecessary practices. In smaller schools we recognise that this may be more difficult. That is why the Assembly will be providing an extra pound;70 million by 2006-7 - a substantial amount of additional funding.

On the general issue of funding we announced substantial extra investment in education and training in the budget, targeted at specific policy commitments, which is on top of the inflation increases committed via the local government settlement.

Schools are only part of the agenda. Extra funding has been put in place for every initiative. In fact, Treasury figures show that in Wales we spend 6 per cent more than England on education and training.

The facts show it is not a pipe dream.

Jane Davidson

Minister for education and lifelong learning

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