The Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council has warned that schools in the county will suffer a complete cut in funding for supporting minority ethnic and gypsy and traveller pupils, while other local authorities will be given extra money.
Cllr John Thomas, said: “The Welsh Government has removed the Minority Ethnic Achievement Grant which all local authorities previously received and is making up for this in the short-term by providing financial support to ‘urban’ authorities.
“The Vale has the fourth highest proportion of pupils from ethnic minority groups in Wales. A letter from the First Minister confirms that three local authorities are being provided with additional funding to enable this important work to continue. However, the Vale of Glamorgan is not included and will lose out yet again, as will our pupils.
“This is another example of a nonsensical approach to funding education from the Welsh Government and a bitter pill to swallow considering the extent to which pupils in the Vale are already disadvantaged by an unfair funding formula.
“In the Council’s budget for 2018/19 we have already had to find an additional £3million to top-up the money provided by Welsh Government. It is simply impossible for us to continue to raise additional funding locally to solve the problems created by what increasingly appears to be a deliberate effort to punish the Vale of Glamorgan through underfunding.”
The Council’s Ethnic Minority Achievement Service currently provides support to schools to help vulnerable qualifying pupils, including children of refugee families who have been resettled in the Vale, develop their literacy and numeracy skills. Without this support many pupils could not access the curriculum.
The support services provided by the Council to schools using this grant totalled £240,000 in 2017/18.
Removal of support will have an acute impact on certain schools such as St Cyres in Penarth where 24% of pupils are from a minority background. A number of primary schools will also be affected.
Cllr Thomas said “Whilst the funding of education to some of the most vulnerable young people may not appear to be important to Welsh Government, it remains an important issue for us locally. We will now have to consider how we divert certain elements of funding away from other vital local services to continue to at the very least part-fund this important area of work.”
The Leaders of all 22 local authorities in Wales wrote to First Minister Carwyn Jones in January to express concern about the decision to cut the Minority Ethnic Achievement Grant. The recent response means that 19 out of the 22 welsh local authorities are left with nothing.