"THERE is not enough money going into the education system in Wales", the Gwent AM who led a cross-party inquiry into school funding has said.

A report by the Welsh Assembly's Children, Young People and Education Committee - chaired by Torfaen AM Lynne Neagle - has called on the Welsh Government to launch an urgent review of the way schools in Wales are funded.

In the 2018-2019 financial year the overall amount of money handed to schools in Wales was £248 million - equivalent to £5,675 per pupil. Although this represents a 0.8 per cent increase on the previous year, it is an eight per cent drop in real terms since 2010.



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Labour AM Ms Neagle said: “The evidence we heard during our inquiry was overwhelming - there is not enough money going into the education system in Wales and not enough finding its way to schools.

“The system for funding schools is hugely complex, multi-layered and dependent on many factors.

"While it would have been easy for us as a committee to simply recommend additional funding for education and for schools, we absolutely believe that increasing the level of funding alone is not the solution. The funding must also be used effectively.

South Wales Argus:

Torfaen AM Lynne Neagle

“On top of our concerns about the level of funding and the complexity of the system, schools are also expected to implement an increasing number of reforms, such as the new curriculum, the new Additional Learning Needs (special educational needs) system and the whole school approach on emotional and mental health.

"Our worry is that with increasing pressures, the challenges for schools could get worse."

She added: “Access to high quality education is a fundamental right for all our children and young people.

"It should not depend on where you live, on your social background or the language in which you learn.

"A good education is one of the most important building blocks a child can receive.”

In calling for the inquiry the committee said the Welsh Government should determine the minimum cost of running a school and educating a child in Wales, before allocating additional resources for factors such as deprivation, and then provide an estimate of the funding gap between the amount currently spent on schools and the amount required to deliver all that is required.

One of the schools which took part in the inquiry was Risca Community Comprehensive. Headteacher John Kendall said: “School funding has clearly been a matter of considerable concern for some time.

South Wales Argus:

Risca Comprehensive School headteacher John Kendall

"I welcomed the inquiry as I welcome this report. We were happy for the committee to visit our school earlier in the year to engage in some very useful and frank discussions.

"The number of recommendations reflects the need for action, and significantly the first of these calls for an urgent review into how much funding is required to fund our schools, especially given the level of educational reform currently being undertaken here in Wales.

“I would urge all school leaders and governors to ensure their voice is properly heard as part of this process.”

Although councils are ultimately responsible for setting the individual budget of each school in their area, they themselves receive their funding allocation from the Welsh Government - which also offers specific grants.