Public being "grossly mislead" about school funding, say Welsh Conservatives
9:18pm Wednesday 16th April 2014 in News
A ROW over funding for secondary schools in Barry has erupted, with the leader of the Welsh Conservatives accusing the labour council of "grossly misleading" the public.
In response, Cabinet Member for Children's Services Councillor Chris Elmore has shot back, saying that Andrew RT Davies is simply partaking in "political mud slinging" and "petty political games".
The issue centres on figures obtained by regional AM Mr Davies which show that, when inflation is accounted for, schools across the Vale face funding cuts of more than £1.2 million this year.
The data, released under the Freedom of Information Act, shows that Barry Comprehensive will see cuts of £383,838, Bryn Hafren Comprehensive £298,493 and Ysgol Bro Morgannwg £53,419.
In total, the funding for secondary schools is down by £1,224,320 - a four percent cut.
In Barry only St Richard Gwyn saw an increase for the year, at £153,381.
Mr Davies said that he was concerned these cuts could force schools into balancing their budgets at the expense of education standards.
He said: "Councillor Elmore is grossly misleading the public and he should apologise. The Labour-Llantwit coalition is slashing school funding and any attempts to claim otherwise are deliberately misleading.
“I do understand that demographic changes prevent funding from remaining static, but Vale residents will be rightly furious that the Labour-Llantwit council has chosen to cut school funding just weeks after hiking their council tax by 4.5 percent.”
Councillor Elmore responded: "I know it's difficult for Mr Davies to accept that the Labour-Llantwit First led Vale Council are funding schools above the recommended funding levels set by Welsh Government, but this petty political mud slinging really is doing nothing to ensure we get the best outcomes for young people across the Vale of Glamorgan.
"It's just a shame that the previous Conservative administration never funded schools to the recommended levels never mind above it.
"Mr Davies may also struggle to understand that I nor any other member of the cabinet have any control over pupil numbers in our comprehensive schools across the Vale.
"To be clear if pupil numbers drop, which they have in a large number of our comprehensive schools, so does funding, which is a major part of how funding is given to schools.
"Mr Davies of course knows this, but why let the facts get in the way of playing petty political games with education.
"Perhaps it's about time Mr Davies and other local Conservatives stopped their crocodile tears over funding cuts and apologised for the £1.4 billion cut from the Westminster Government to Wales, which has a direct impact on education, health and many other front line services."