Key stage funding very much alive

19th November 2004 at 00:00
I was very concerned by your inaccurate front page headline ("Axe falls on funds for KS3", TES Cymru, November 12) and the misleading article below it.

Additional key stage 3 funding from the Welsh Assembly has not been axed. It has been provided for the past four years and will continue in 2005-6 as we are committed to investing in this key stage as part of the school improvement agenda.

Since 2001 substantial funding has been provided as an additional revenue funding grant for local authorities. This year the grant totals pound;31.5 million. It is provided for three purposes: reducing junior class sizes, supporting low-performing schools and improving standards at KS3.

Apart from pound;3m being ring-fenced for low-performing schools, local education authorities have had discretion to allocate funding between the three purposes, whether as an additional allocation to school budgets, for centrally-supported initiatives, or a mix of the two.

As a result of a wider review of the extra revenue funding grant and the Better Schools Fund (BSF, successor to Grants for Educational Support and Training), the funding for the KS3 element will be transferred in 2005-6 into the BSF for improvement purposes.

The amount involved is pound;9.5m. This transfer will provide an additional funding stream which will enable LEAs and schools to continue to focus on improving outcomes for pupils at KS3.

Confirmation of the arrangements for 2005-6 will be provided once the Assembly's budget for 2005-6 has received final approval next month.

I am grateful for the opportunity to set the record straight and confirm our continuing commitment to the KS3 agenda.

Jane Davidson

Minister for education and lifelong learning

Editor's comment: TES Cymru reported the genuine concerns of secondary heads about what they had been told by their education authorities, alongside the response from the Assembly government.

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