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Extra cash for schools in council budget plans

Swansea Council will be giving schools an additional £2.2m over and above the funding it has received for education from the Welsh Government.


Headteachers have been told today (Wed) that although the council has to find more than £22 million in savings in 2018/19, it will continue to prioritise provision for schools and pupils above all other service areas in its draft budget.

The council published its proposals for next year's budget last week and if Cabinet approves the plans tomorrow (Thurs), the public will then get a chance to have their say ahead of final decisions next February.

Cllr Jennifer Raynor, Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Lifelong Learning, said: "Indications are there will be no increase in funding for schools from central government next year in spite of the significant cost pressures that they will face.

"We have recognised that this places a huge burden on their finances as around £3.7m is needed simply to meet the cost of funding teachers' pay awards, an anticipated rise in pupil numbers and other inflationary factors.

"With every service under severe pressure the council cannot make-up this shortfall alone but we are proposing an increase of £2.2m in the core funding of schools which equates to almost 60% of these major cost pressures.

"If we do receive any extra funding for schools in the final settlement from central government then we will also pass this on directly to the schools in full.

"This demonstrates that once again we are maintaining our pledge to prioritise school funding above all other services but it is becoming increasingly difficult year after year."

Swansea Council, working with the Welsh Government, is also looking at spending a further £149.7m on improving school buildings in the coming years as part of the next phase of the 21st Century Schools Programme.

Cllr Raynor and Swansea Council Leader Cllr Rob Stewart met with headteachers and their representatives this afternoon (Wed).

Cllr Stewart said that despite eight years of shrinking budgets Swansea Council would continue to spend £1.6m a day on the priorities that matter most to local communities.

He added: "In the past few years the council has managed to save more than £60m from its budget, protect jobs, and modernise services by becoming smarter, leaner and more efficient.

"The benefits are being felt by children, by older people and by the most vulnerable in our communities because we're ploughing into frontline services a bigger percentage of available money than ever before.

"We still hope that there will be an end to the Austerity agenda, but until that happens all councils are facing extremely difficult challenges. Despite the difficulties, independent inspections of our schools, social care and finance services show we are performing very well."

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