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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Déjà vu

I have the Assembly Finance Committee scrutiny of the Foundation Phase on in the background as I work, making use of the excellent Senedd TV facility on the website.

Having slanted their questions to the WLGA to imply that the underfunding of this valuable scheme is all the fault of local Councils, who allegedly did not meet the Minister's data needs, Labour members are now expressing outrage about the 'funding fog', which supposedly prevents much needed cash reaching schools.

If Labour are going to use this as an excuse they will also have to answer the question as to why the Education Minister has not tackled this issue earlier. This is especially so in light of the very comprehensive recommendations of the Committee on School Funding in the last Assembly, most of which appear to have been ignored.

By the way, if you are interested in this subject I very much recommend that you watch the archive video of this meeting. It really is compelling viewing.
Nothing ever seems to change. It was always the fault of local government when I was education spokesperson for the WLGA. In reality,of course,being close to the chalk face local government does tend to know what is going on in their schools.Local authorities know what is going on in their patch. If they say there is a shortfall then that is the end of the matter. I can always remember an assembly political adviser writing to me to tell me that Bridgend had not put in its bid for school capital funding after I had criticised how slow the assembly was in allocating the money. When I called in Bridgend's then Director of Education he produced a copy of the letter which had been sent to the Assembly to show that we were one of the first authorities to put a bid in. He had also phoned the civil servants to check when they had received our bid and was told we were amongst the first. I then wrote back to the adviser telling him to check his facts and that the Assembly seemed to resemble a polycratic regime like Hitler's Germany. As a history graduate I assumed that he would understand what I was saying. Unfortunately my assumption regarding the historical knowledge of the said adviser was way off the mark.Perhaps I should have used the good old English phrase of the right hand not knowing what the left was doing. He then went around telling everyone that I had compared the First Minister to Hitler. I know you couldn't make it up.
Senedd TV certainly is excellent, and a huge improvement on the previous webcast service. Kudos to whoever designed it.
It looked like 3-0 to the WLGA team.
Regards JJ's comments above, you couldn't compare the first minister with Hitler. Hitler, had vision, be it methamphet induced, still, never the less it was vision.
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