However, the National Education Union Cymru also notes that the Welsh Government also has a responsibility to ensure that they maximise the amount received from the block grant for the provision of education.
David Evans, Wales Secretary of the National Education Union Cymru, said:
“Austerity from the UK Government has had an enormous impact on schools in Wales. Since austerity began, the previous Secretary of State for Wales failed each year to fight for adequate funding for Wales in general and ultimately for education.
“We will be seeking to meet both the Finance and Education Ministers to discuss the issues of austerity to ensure that Welsh schools are adequately funded and that the damage inflicted via Westminster cuts is reversed.”
The text of the motion to conference on this issue was as follows:
Motion 6. Funding Welsh Schools
Conference Cymru notes that since 2015, approximately 942 schools in Wales have had their funding cut resulting in a reduction in staffing numbers, inadequate resources, increased class sizes and crumbling school buildings.
Conference Cymru accepts that overall responsibility for funding the Welsh Government, and ultimately maintained schools in Wales, lies with the Westminster Government with the block grant initially paid to the Secretary of State for Wales who, in turn, transfers a balance to the Welsh Government which is placed in the Welsh Consolidated Fund. The monies transferred have consistently been shown to be inadequate whilst the Conservatives in Westminster continue to promote their ill-fated austerity programme with little regard to the damage being caused to education provision in Wales.
Throughout the period since the Tories came to power in 2010, Conference Cymru further notes that the Secretary of State for Wales has failed each year to fight for adequate funding for Wales in general and ultimately for education.
However, Conference Cymru also notes that the Welsh Government in Cardiff Bay also has a responsibility to ensure that they maximise the amount received from the block grant for the provision of public services.
Conference Cymru applauds the School Cuts Cymru campaign that has raised awareness amongst members, governors, parents, councillors and politicians both at the Senedd and Westminster of the damage being inflicted and urges the NEU to develop the campaign by:
- Calling upon the Secretary of State for Wales to publish proposals for rectifying the harm that has been inflicted upon Wales, its public services and education in particular as a result of the said austerity programme.
- Calling upon the Welsh Minister for Finance to publish and implement proposals for developing the devolved funding settlement and Statement of Funding policy to ensure that Welsh schools are adequately funded and that the damage inflicted via Westminster cuts is reversed.
- Calling upon the Welsh Education Minister to publish proposals that will ensure that schools throughout Wales are financed adequately and which brings an end to anomalies in funding formula that have adversely affected many schools in different parts of the country.
- Continuing to work with other unions involved in the School Cuts Cymru campaign until this issue is satisfactorily resolved.
- Insert new number 4 (below) and renumber:
4. Calling on Welsh Government to fully fund any future statutory increases in National Insurance and Pension Contributions. These are outside of schools’ control and therefore cut into the actual money available per pupil. This should not form part of any announced “increase” in spending as it does not increase the money available to schools.
The National Education Union is an amalgamation of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and National Union of Teachers (NUT), formed on 1 September 2017. Please see the below contact details for assistance:
Contact: David Evans, National Education Union, Tŷ Sinnott, 18 Neptune Court, Vanguard Way, Cardiff CF24 5PJ. Tel: 029 20491818. Mob: 07815 071164.
Contact: Mary van den Heuvel, National Education Union, Tŷ Sinnott, 18 Neptune Court, Vanguard Way, Cardiff CF24 5PJ. Tel: 029 20491818.
Note to editors:
- The National Education Union stands up for the future of education. It brings together the voices of teachers, lecturers, support staff and leaders working in maintained and independent schools and colleges to form the largest education union in Wales.
- The National Education Union is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and Education International (EI). It is not affiliated to any political party and seeks to work constructively with all the main political parties.