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NASUWT reveals pupil funding gap

Welsh pupils ‘shortchanged’: NASUWT

FOLLOWING the Welsh Party Political Conferences, where delegates were asked by the NASUWT to estimate the per-pupil funding gap between schools in Wales and England, the NASUWT can reveal that in 2014 the gap, on average, stood at £843.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in Wales, said:

“In 2010, the per-pupil funding gap stood at £604 before the Welsh Government stopped publishing this data, because comparison with England had become too difficult due the emerging academies and free schools programme.

“However, the NASUWT has interrogated the 2014 school funding data that is available in both England and Wales and has established that, on average, the per-pupil funding gap had increased to £843.

“This represents an underinvestment in schools to the tune of £380m.

“If just half of this money had been put into schools, some 4,400 additional teachers, or a combination of teachers and support staff, could have been employed.

“Instead, 776 teaching posts have been cut across schools in Wales since 2010.

“The immediate challenge for the next Welsh Government will be to address the years of underinvestment that have blighted the education system and caused untold misery to those teachers and support staff who have either seen their workload increase or have lost jobs through redundancy.

“If the ambition for the New Curriculum for pupils and the New Deal for the continuing professional development of education practitioners in Wales is to be realised, then this challenge on school funding must be addressed as a matter of priority.”

Rex Phillips, NASUWT National Official for Wales, said: “On average delegates across the Political Party Conference estimated the per-pupil funding gap to stand at £1,274.

“Although significantly higher than the £843 identified through our research, the delegates figure presents an uncannily accurate reflection of the per-pupil funding gap between our maintained schools in Wales and the academies in England that stood at £1,287 in 2014.

“Pupils in Wales have been shortchanged for far too long, too many subjects have been abandoned, and too many teachers have lost their livelihoods as a result.

“The challenge facing the next administration at the Senned is to make sure that the ‘Welsh Way’ will be to concentrate on ensuring that the years of underfunding of our schools in Wales is brought to an end, so that our pupils can be provided with the best life-chances.”