The whole truth about funding

13th October 2006 at 01:00
For two weeks running TES Cymru has failed to report both the school funding committee's report and my responses accurately. I urge readers to look at the report and my responses, and the verbatim record of the comments made during the plenary debate on this subject, and judge for themselves.

There were in fact 27 recommendations in the report, not 22. Two were not for the Assembly government. Of the remaining 25, 23 were wholly accepted or accepted in principle.

I made clear commitments in my response to deliver improvements to the transparency, objectivity and fairness of the distribution of education funding in Wales on the lines recommended by the committee.

I have not "put on the back burner" calls for budgets set on historical factors to be scrapped. This statement is simply incorrect. We are already reviewing the deprivation and sparsity indicators, and their weightings, within the standard spending assessment formula to ensure the distribution of revenue support grant reflects the actual cost of education provision, and the commitment to move from historical to actual costs was clearly made.

I have not "sided with the present local government mechanism for funding schools ... rejecting calls for a national funding system". The committee did not recommend the removal of school funding from local government responsibility and continues to support the local democratic role.

In closing the debate, I did not "claim change could do more harm than good". What I said was: "I hope that we all understand that we do not want to see any perverse outcomes of changing any aspect of the system, which might have a negative effect on another.

"That is why we need appropriate lead-in times for changes, and proper reviews to take these considerations into account."

I look forward to my views - which are on record - being accurately reflected in this week's paper.

Jane Davidson AM Minister for education, lifelong learning and skills National Assembly, Cardiff Editor's comment: there are indeed 27 recommendations, and our September 29 story stated the Assembly government had accepted most of them.

The "back-burner" comment was intended to refer to reaction to the report and the minister's response to it. We apologise for this error.

The "local government mechanism" comment was, as stated in the story, in the minister's evidence to the committee, not in her responses to its final report.

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