EDUCATION funding in the Vale of Glamorgan has continued to provoke debate amongst politicians, with the Welsh Government’s recent comments being described as “disingenuous” by South Wales Central AM Andrew RT Davies.

Vale of Glamorgan Council leader John Thomas recently criticised the Welsh Government for the amount of funding that was being given to the council for education, arguing that it was the lowest of any local authority in Wales.

Vale council leader John Thomas had previously written to the Welsh Government to request express concerns and request action to address the problem, saying that funding per pupil in 2016/17 was £606 below the average for Wales.

The council subsequently issued letters to parents across the Vale saying that the Welsh Government was responsible for the low levels of funding.

In response, Vale of Glamorgan AM Jane Hutt requested cabinet secretary Kirsty Williams address the matter in the Senedd last week. Ms Williams replied that it was the council who decided how much to allocate to school funding budgets.

In their exchange, Ms Williams said: “Local authorities are responsible for school funding in Wales.

“The Vale of Glamorgan Council sets their spending priorities for the services that they provide, taking consideration of local needs and all the resources available.

“How much an authority sets aside for school budgets is a matter for that authority.”

She added that she wanted to “set the record straight” with regards to education funding in the Vale.

“This is a challenging time for education budgets, I make no bones about that,” she continued.

“It is disappointing that the Vale of Glamorgan Council has misrepresented the position on school funding. I am responding to every letter that I have received from parents, setting the record straight, and I’m happy to do that again today.”

But Mr Davies has taken issue with Ms Williams’ response, saying that the Welsh Government calculated the Vale’s block grant by individual indicator-based assessments – including for education.

He said that since 2013, the Vale had funded education at a level above that suggested by this calculation and so steps had already been taken to mitigate the impact of the Welsh Government’s funding shortfall.

Mr Davies said: “Many parents have contacted me to express deep concerns about education funding in the Vale – which is the lowest per pupil in Wales.

“It is quite clear that action must be taken to address this shortfall, so it is disappointing to see the cabinet secretary attempting to pass the buck.

“When calculating the Vale’s revenue support grant, the Welsh Government use individual assessments of service areas through a system known as IBAs. The Vale already funds education at a level higher than the Welsh Government’s IBA – so it is clear they need to review their funding formula.

“Instead of attempting to blame the Council – which incidentally was Labour-run until last year – the Welsh Government need to get a grip and provide the Vale with the fairer funding settlement it deserves.”