Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Welsh budget must include a pupil premium – Kirsty Williams

A day before the Welsh Government’s budget is announced, the Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling on the Labour-Plaid Government to ensure they root out waste and inefficiency in order to prioritise improving educational life chances for the poorest children.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader, Kirsty Williams said:

“Tackling waste must be a priority for this budget. Only one in five people think that public bodies in Wales used their resources in the most effective way. This reflects the concern of the Welsh Liberal Democrats that currently the Labour-Plaid government has not done enough to root out inefficiency in our public services. As families and businesses tighten their belts, it is reasonable of the public to expect our Government to do the same. It is by making efficiencies that the Welsh Government will be able to prioritise improving the life chances of the poorest children in Wales.

“The Labour-Plaid Government has consistently underfunded our schools. Education spending in Wales is over £500 lower per pupil than in England and sadly, this is now reflected in Wales’s poorer performance at GCSE and A level – where we have now slipped behind England for the first time.

“It is vital that in Wales we begin to close this funding gap, starting with children from the poorest backgrounds.

“The start you have in life can determine your prospects for the rest of your life so extra resources must be targeted at those who start the furthest behind.

“The Welsh budget is a chance to put that situation right for the poorest children in society. The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling for a Welsh pupil premium that would mean schools would be able to help children from poorer homes much more effectively.”

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