Schools Challenge Cymru: Education standards funding fears

Picking up on an issue we covered first last week, the BBC is now reporting that there are fears £5m could be diverted from Wales’ current schools’ improvement programmes to pay for a new scheme also aimed at raising standards…

Earlier this year it was announced £20m would be given to 40 underperforming schools from the new Schools Challenge Cymru fund to help them improve.

Around £12m has come from the UK government leaving £8m to be found.

Ministers say they are looking at which departmental budgets could support the policy at a “very challenging” time.

Schools Challenge Cymru was launched by the Welsh government in May to improve the quality of teaching and learning by sharing expertise and teachers with high-performing schools. Similar schemes have been run in London and Manchester.

First Minister Carwyn Jones called it “a real game changer”.

But at least £5m of the funding needed for it will come from three existing schemes, according to Plaid Cymru:

  • The School Effectiveness Grant – aimed at improving literacy, numeracy and reducing the impact of poverty.
  • The Minority Ethnic Achievement Grant – aimed at raising achievement of ethnic minority children and children of migrant workers.
  • The 14-19 Network Grant – which supports organisations, learning providers and teenage learners.

The party’s education spokesman Simon Thomas said: “It is disappointing that leaks and rumours are the only way our Welsh parliament can discover what the government is planning and that cuts are being proposed in the summer recess when Welsh ministers can’t be forced to account for their actions in the assembly.”

Teaching unions have expressed concerns about what the cuts will mean for schools…

A Welsh government spokesperson said it had been completely transparent about a very challenging budget position…

More (including an analysis by the BBC’s Arwyn Jones, at: Schools Challenge Cymru: Education standards funding fears


This seems a bit naughty doesn’t it? Announcing new funding without revealing that a big chunk of it will have to be clawed back from existing schemes? Or has the Welsh government been suitable transparent, as they claim? Please give us your reactions in the comments or via Twitter…


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