‘Schools funding must increase to reverse devastating decade of austerity’

Members of NAHT Cymru were outside the Senedd today to lobby AMs over the Welsh Government’s draft budget.

They, along with members from other trades unions, were there to discuss our concerns over the budget proposals.

They were met by Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM, who said he shared their concerns that the funding in the draft budget does not go far enough to “reverse a devastating decade of austerity” for schools in north Wales.

The NAHT pointed out that the draft budget includes £8m funding for Additional Learning Needs, but this will do nothing to address needs of schools where children need additional support.

Mr Gruffydd said: “There are 120,000 pupils with Additional Learning Needs in Wales so £8m equates to just £66 per child so, welcome as it is, it’s not going to make the difference that those pupils and their families need. The heads, teachers and support workers in our schools, who are doing their best for those pupils, are facing an impossible position. Too many of our schools, through no fault of their own, are now in deficit and having to lay off experienced staff to balance the books. So the announcement of new funds – for example of £15m to help with the professional learning of teachers – is welcome but is a drop in the ocean and fails to reverse a devastating decade of austerity.”

Mr Gruffydd added: “Too many schools, in particular secondary schools, are now feeling the financial pressures and promises of additional funding from the UK Government needed to become concrete proposals for those on the frontline. Otherwise, schools in Wales will continue to struggle and our pupils will not get the education they deserve. I’m grateful to NAHT Cymru for meeting with us to discuss how we can make the improvements we need.”

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