New inquiry: how are schools in Wales funded, and is it enough?

A new inquiry is underway to look at how Welsh schools are funded and whether it’s enough to meet their needs.

The issue of school funding has come up as a theme in a number of recent enquiries and the National Assembly’s Children, Young People and Education Committee feel now is the time to take a wholesale look at this fundamental issue.

The Committee will be looking at the relationship and balance between the various sources of funding to schools, as well as how transparent these relationships are. This will predominantly include schools’ core budgets but will also look at specific funding streams such as the Pupil Development Grant (PDG), which is used to improve outcomes for learners eligible for free school meals (eFSM) and Looked After Children (LAC).

The inquiry will look at the sufficiency of provision for school budgets, in the context of other public service budgets and available resources, and amongst the inquiry’s other areas of focus will be the weighting given to education and school budgets specifically within the local government settlement formula and the process which local authorities then follow to set each school’s budget.

“Responding to concerns we have heard in other inquiries, this Committee will be looking closely at how Welsh schools are funded, where that funding comes from and whether it is enough to meet the needs of our schoolchildren,” said Lynne Neagle AM, Chair of the Children, Young People and Education Committee.

“We will be looking at whether the current level of provision for school budgets either complements or inhibits the delivery of the Welsh Government’s policy objectives.However, we are well aware of the current spending climate and the need to balance the needs of schools against the demands of other public services.

Our inquiry is therefore not just about the sufficiency of school funding but the way in which individual schools’ budgets are determined and allocated.”

A public consultation is open until Friday 14 December. Anyone wishing to contribute should first visit the Children, Young People and Education Committee web pages at www.assembly.wales/SeneddCYPE.

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