Play phase wins cash

25th January 2008 at 00:00
A better-than-expected budget supporting the play-led foundation phase was voted for by Assembly members in the Senedd this week. But there were grumblings in the chamber that 14-19 education would suffer through a lack of cash.

An extra pound;32 million will help see in the full roll-out of the FP and reduce class sizes for under-sevens in 2008-9. This is on top of an extra pound;15m already on the table for recruiting new staff.

The extra cash was one of two concessions granted - the other to the local government and its settlement - following crisis talks with teaching unions and the Welsh Local Government Association.

Strike action had been threatened by some unions if more funding was not found in the draft plans, released last month. Finance minister Andrew Davies led a motion for the final budget plans to be approved on Wednesday.

Angela Burns, Tory AM for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, claimed the extra FP funding was "self-defeating" as 14-19 education would lack cash.

"Our 11-year-olds will have lap-tops but their schools will be falling down around them," she said, referring to a coalition government commitment to give every secondary school pupil their own laptop.

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