.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Saturday, July 05, 2008

A major funding gap

One of the biggest weaknesses of the One Wales Government is the way that it is neglecting education. Not only is the Foundation Phase underfunded so that schools are unable to deliver the 1 to 8 teacher pupil ratio required for the under eights, but the local government settlement was so inadequate that core funding for schools is being eroded once again. Many more schools than before will be setting deficit budgets this year.

At Higher Education level a funding gap between Wales and England of £61 million remains unaddressed and continues to grow despite a personal commitment from the First Minister to address it a few years ago, whilst the condition of University buildings is poor and deteriorating.

School buildings too are in crisis. A recent report highlighted the state of school toilets but this issue is intrinsically tied into an historic underinvestment in the buildings themselves and still we have no extra money for this purpose from the Labour-Plaid Government despite the fact that they are sitting on an unallocated capital fund of several hundred million pounds.

Further Education Colleges play a vital role delivering the Government's skills agenda and yet they have been starved of cash in recent years. This years increase in their funding was barely above one per cent. As a result they are having to cut courses and make staff redundant.

The Western Mail estimates that up to 300 jobs will have to be cut across the sector and courses for an estimated 2,500 students will have to be cancelled. Fifteen colleges are planning on freezing posts when vacant, according to fforwm. Seventeen colleges are likely to make voluntary or compulsory redundancies. And part-time courses for adults could be the worst hit as colleges are rewarded for enrolling 16 to 19-year- olds but not those over 19. Courses for disadvantaged adults are also vulnerable, as are courses in construction, travel and tourism. As well as job losses and cancelled courses, the lack of funding will result in a reduction in spending on equipment and building projects.

This is no way to run a Country.
If there is any serious question about fully funding the 1 to 8 teacher pupil ratio then imho it would be very wrong to impose "progressive teaching methods" on pupils in classes with significantly poore teacher:pupil ratios. Children, particularly children from poorer backgrounds or from families lacking a patent with a good education, must master their three Rs (reading, writing and arithmetic). Most kids have but one chance to master their three Rs, let's not mess up their one chance of getting into college by failing to teach them their three Rs.
Why are we wasting millions on Teacher Training colleges when there aren't any vacancies in Wales; if qualified teachers want to get a job they've got to go to London or the Home Counties to get one.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?