This week I met with the National Education Union this week in Parliament to hear what more the UK Government could do to support education in Wales.
Although education budgets are set by the Welsh Government their funding is determined by the UK Government. Figures given to me at the meeting demonstrated that 42% of schools in Delyn have suffered UK Government cuts to per pupil funding since 2015. This has resulted in an annual funding shortfall from 2015/16 – 2018/19 of £704,782.
The Welsh Government needs sufficient resources to support every school to succeed. There needs to be adequate money in the pot from Westminster to properly fund schools in Wales.
Less funding means fewer staff and resources. Less individual support and attention for each child. Reduction in support for additional learning needs. Cutbacks on curriculum like arts, sports and music.
Heads, teachers and school staff are doing all they can to mitigate the impact on children, but this is not sustainable. And it’s only going to get worse unless funding from the UK Government isn’t forthcoming.
For years, the UK Government has failed to commit adequate funding for schools across the UK. As a result, 942 schools across Wales have suffered cuts to per-pupil funding since 2015. Welsh schools have lost out on £58.9m since 2015 because of UK Government funding cuts to the Welsh Government.
Ensuring that children have a decent start in life means that they can unlock their potential and become the person they want to be. Decent education not only sets them up with the skills they need for securing a decent job, but more importantly gives them the gift of curiosity and a passion for learning. The UK Government cuts to the Welsh Government budget is taking away these life chances from our children and young people.
It is really important that MPs work closely with the National Education Union so that we can effectively apply pressure on the UK Government to provide us with a decent funding formula. It is shocking that under this UK Government 42% of schools in Delyn have suffered because of cuts to per pupil funding. Teachers and school support staff are working in extremely difficult situations trying to give all our children a decent start in life, but their efforts cannot bridge the gap left by government.
Flintshire County Council is doing everything in its power to keep our schools afloat. But they cannot do this alone. We need a UK Government which listens to our needs and reacts in kind. For too long we have been ignored whilst unemployment climbs, child poverty increases and our public services decline. Enough is enough.