Frozen cash

14th April 2006 at 01:00
Welcome to the frozen north. An average-sized secondary school in England will get an extra pound;90,000 in "Gordon Brown" money this financial year. A large secondary school in Gwynedd will get nothing. In fact, no secondary school in Gwynedd will get a penny.

The Assembly government has decided to allocate all their Brown money on the basis of free school meals (FSM) as an indicator of social deprivation.

So, despite the fact that Ysgol Friars has "communities first" wards in its catchment area, we will not see a penny because we have fewer than 20 per cent FSMs.

The Assembly government said last week that its key priority is to ensure that all children have the best possible start in life and that up to pound;13 million of Brown money would be made available as a specific revenue grant for schools to improve educational outcomes for underachieving pupils. It says its project, called Raise, will target the link between disadvantage and educational attainment to ensure that all our young people achieve, whatever their situation and circumstances.

But Raise does not address the needs of all pupils - it will target the needs of underachieving pupils from disadvantaged areas in specific schools to the detriment of underachieving pupils from deprived areas in schools where the FSM entitlement is slightly below 20 per cent.

This is a disgrace. It's bad enough being the poor relation compared with England.

Neil Foden NUT national executive member for Wales Head of Ysgol Friars, Bangor

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