Head teachers warn: Wales’ schools are ‘in for tough time’ as funding cuts bite

Wales Online is reporting that a leading education union has warned that “schools are in for a tough time” with rumours the Welsh Government is planning to “claw back” money that has already been allocated…

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), which represents the majority of secondary headteachers in Wales, said “plain speaking” about the cuts and their impact was needed.

It follows concerns raised by Plaid Cymru that the Welsh Government is preparing to scale back by £5m three Wales-specific education funding streams.

The party’s education spokesman Simon Thomas said the School Effectiveness Grant, the Minority Ethnic Achievement Grant and the 14–19 Network Grant were all under the microscope.

But he criticised the Welsh Government for not making clear its intentions and waiting until the summer recess “when Welsh ministers can’t be forced to account for their actions in the Assembly”.

Robin Hughes, secretary of ASCL Cymru, said there had been “intense discussion behind closed doors” within the Welsh Department for Education about “clawing back” money that had already been dished out to schools.

He said: “Severe financial constraints are affecting all the public services in Wales. Our schools are included in that. Working to raise standards when there’s hit after hit in funding is hard. It it is made more difficult when officials seem reluctant or unable to talk clearly about the true cost of the cuts being considered.”

Mr Hughes said the Welsh Government’s new Schools Challenge Cymru initiative, designed to raise standards in some of Wales’ weakest schools, was to be welcomed – but “nobody would have expected” funding for the £20m programme would be taken from existing budgets.

He added: “Of the 40 Challenge Cymru schools, how many have had their plans for improvement that will be funded by the programme agreed and signed-off? Not many, as the authorities were slow to confirm how the process would work…

A spokesman said the Welsh Government had been “completely transparent” about the challenging financial position it faced, adding: “By 2015-16 our budget will be nearly £1.7bn less than it was in 2010-11. It is up to all of us in the public sector, Welsh Government, local government and schools, to respond to this challenge…

More at: Head teachers warn: Wales’ schools are ‘in for tough time’ as funding cuts bite

 

Any readers in Wales care to unpick what’s happening here for the rest of us? Have schools beed misled about the amount of funding that would be provided for these various initiatives (or at least that it might include previously allocated funds)? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…

 

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