Welsh Education Minister Huw Lewis has issued a strong reminder to Local Authorities that the pupil deprivation grant, a major education grant, must be used for its intended purposes.
Since 2011, the Welsh Labour Government has required support from opposition parties to ensure the passing of the Budget in the Assembly. Two years ago Welsh Liberal Democrats agreed to support a budget that met Welsh Liberal Democrat aims, being giving our children the best start in life, and beginning to break the link between attainment and poverty.
Our flagship policy as already introduced in England, the Pupil Premium (or Pupil Deprivation Grant) would give schools a sum of £450 for each pupil on free school meals.
Opposition parties, including the Welsh Liberal Democrats, again refused to back the Labour Government’s budget without further investment into key priorities. As a result of the 2013 budget negotiations, the grant will rise to £918 per pupil on free schools meals.
Concerns have been expressed that the money may be seen by some schools and indeed by some education authorities, as an additional fund to be used to meet local priorities. Education Minister Huw Lewis has recently asserted that the PDG (Pupil Deprivation Grant) must be used for its core purposes, to support pupils and to tackle the link between poor attainment and poverty.
“The Welsh Liberal Democrats have been consistent in calling for more support for Wales’ poorest children, including tacking the link between attainment and poverty.
We can be in no doubt that this extra money for schools would not exist if it were not for the Welsh Liberal Democrats. Our recent schools survey showed how students from poorer backgrounds are benefiting from this important Welsh Liberal Democrat policy.
Alan Milburn, a former Labour UK cabinet minister, recently published a report showing that pupils eligible for free school meals in England are 50% more likely to obtain five good GCSEs than their counterparts in Wales. That is wholly unacceptable and the Welsh Liberal Democrats are ensuring that poorer students in Wales are now getting the extra support that they need.
Arfon Liberal Democrats are urging Gwynedd LEA to ensure that Pupil Deprivation Grant funding is used for its intended purpose. ”
Gwynedd received £904,050 of the £32.4m grant in 2013-14 (2009 Free School Meals Pupils), and is estimated to receive £1,947,996 of the £71.8m available in 2014/15. Some example funding outcomes of the PDG;
Ysgol Glancegin received £27,900 in 2013-14 and will receive £57,834 in 2014/15.
Ysgol Cae Top received £10,350 in 2013-14 and will receive £22,032 in 2014/15.
Ysgol Gynradd Hirael received £16,650 in 2013-14 and will receive £33,996 in 2014/15.
Ysgol Gynradd Llanllechid received £12,600 in 2013-14 and will receive 24 £22,032 in 2014/15.