Welsh grants 'disgrace'
Primary schools in the principality with between 200 and 400 pupils are to receive pound;8,000 and secondary schools with between 600 and 1,200 pupils are to get pound;20,000, according to a formula agreed by the Welsh Assembly last week. The money is to be passed to schools, via local education authorities, by the end of this month.
Gethin Lewis, secretary of NUT Cymru, said that this was far less than schools in England will receive. Under plans announced two months ago, comparable primary schools in England will get pound;24,000 and comparable secondaries pound;70,000. The pound;50,000 difference for secondary schools was "a disgrace".
But Jane Davidson, Welsh education minister, said the NUT was "once again confused and not looking at the complete picture". The pound;15m for Welsh schools, whose allocation was agreed last week, was only a "topping-up" grant, she said. Most of the money going to schools in Wales went through the local authority revenue settlement, while in Englad there was more direct funding to schools through the standards fund.
Miss Davidson said figures published last week by the Assembly's statistical department showed that spending on Welsh schools compared well with spending in England. Average budgeted spending per pupil in Wales last year was pound;2,850, higher than in eight out of 10 English regions, and early signs were that budgets for school education would rise this year by 9 per cent.
But headteachers in Wales complained that the figures put out by the Assembly did not correspond with what happens on the ground. Somewhere between the Assembly and their schools the money disappears into a black hole, they said.
WHERE THE MONEY GOES
Schools in Wales will receive the following top-up grants via their local education authority this month:
Up to 50 pupils: pound;3,000
50-100 pupils: pound;4,000
100-200 pupils: pound;6,000
200-400 pupils: pound;8,000
400-plus pupils: pound;12,000
Up to 600 pupils: pound;15,000
600-1,200 pupils: pound;20,000
1,201-plus pupils: pound;25,000
Special school: pound;5,000
Nursery school: pound;2,500
Pupil referral unit: pound;2,500