Council leader and schools budget forum chair demand fair funding for Vale Pupils

The Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council and Chair of the Schools Budget Forum have jointly written to Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams, and all parents in the Vale setting out their concerns over the chronic underfunding of education in the County.

The level of funding allocated per pupil within the Vale of Glamorgan is the lowest in Wales.

In the letter, which is signed by Executive Headteacher and Forum Chair Dr Vince Browne and Cllr John Thomas, the pair highlight to parents that the Vale receives £606 less per pupil than the Welsh average and £1,360 less per pupil than the highest funded local authority.

Cllr Thomas said: “We have some of the best schools and most able and enthusiastic teaching and support staff in Wales working here in the Vale of Glamorgan, but their work is being undermined by a flawed funding system.

“The level of funding that each local authority receives is determined by a formula designed by Welsh Government. While it may have once been effective, this formula has not been reviewed for 17 years and relies on data gathered in the 1991 census.

“It simply beggars belief that the funding of possibly the most important area of our work is determined by data that is almost 30 years old.

“I have raised concerns about this directly with Welsh Government on numerous occasions. The responses I have received have given me absolutely no confidence in the methodology used to distribute education funding across Wales. Perhaps more worryingly, they have also shown a complete unwillingness to reconsider their approach or to address any of the clear flaws that have been raised.

“It is because of this refusal to even consider alternatives that I felt there was no option but to share with the parents of the pupils whose education the Council is responsible for my opinion that their education is being held back by the use of an outdated and flawed Welsh Government formula.”

Dr Browne said: “I have been a member of the Vale Budget Forum Group for many years and have witnessed year after year students in the Local Authority receiving the lowest level of funding of any students across Wales. I have also witnessed the gap in funding between students in the Vale and other students across Wales growing. I believe that there is clear evidence that the funding methodology employed by the Welsh Government disadvantages the education of pupils in the Vale and is flawed and out of date. The Welsh Government states that the principles by which they allocate funding are equity, stability, clarity and relevance. I am calling for a review of the formula to ensure that it meets these stated principles in order to ensure that all students across Wales are treated equitably.”

Due to reductions in the funding received from Welsh Government, the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s budgeted expenditure per pupil in 2017/18 is at the same level it was in 2012/13. This is despite the authority channelling £3 million above the 2017/18 Welsh Government Indicative Spending level into schools funding in the current financial year.

Spending on education represents 45 per cent of the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s overall budget.

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