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Spending on learning for under 18s in Wales over £150m since the start of the pandemic

Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language
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The @WelshGovernment has today (26 May) announced an extra £19m to support education and early years settings, taking spending on learning for under 18s to over £150m since the start of the pandemic.

The funding will be used to ensure children continue their learning progress following disruption due to the pandemic, with a focus on the well-being of children and staff.

£13m will be for additional support for early years learners, in both schools and non-maintained settings. The funding will go towards increased practitioner-to-learner ratios in schools and educational support for non-maintained settings to help deliver supported, active play and experiential learning.

An extra £6 million will be allocated to schools to support teaching staff, promote wellbeing and progression and expand on the positive changes already made to ways of working.

The Welsh Government has provided funding for an extra 1,800 full-time teaching staff through its ‘Recruit, Recover and Raise Standards’ programme.

Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, said: 

“The last year has brought into sharp focus just how important our schools, settings, colleges and universities are for our children and young people. Education practitioners have risen heroically to meet the challenge, while learners have been brilliant in adapting to learning in different ways.

“Having opportunities for meaningful, quality interactions is essential for our early years learners. Today I’m announcing a further £13million for early years settings to provide extra support for the unique needs of our younger children.

“We must recover and reform. I am determined that the emphasis on well-being and flexibility shown over the last year is built upon and closely aligned with the introduction of our new curriculum. Our education system has shown remarkable resilience and flexibility and we must learn from that.”

£9.8 million of extra funding to support learners with Additional Learning Needs in Wales during coronavirus 

11 Feb 2021: The Welsh Government announced a further £9.8 million to support learners with Additional Learning Needs. The funding will remove barriers to education for children and young people due to Covid-19. 

£8.8m will be provided to local authorities, including funding for special schools, with £1m for young people in further education.  

The pandemic has led to delays in some young people being assessed for their additional learning needs, due to social distancing and coronavirus restrictions. Local authorities will be able to use the funding to clear backlogs for assessments, enabling learners to return to education more quickly. 

The funding can also be used to fund additional costs associated with blended learning, including one-to-one support, and the costs of specialist software.

The funding will also be used to meet costs such as additional classes, where these are needed to keep learners and staff safe, and services such as occupational therapy. Local authorities will also be able to extend mental health and wellbeing support for learners adversely impacted by Covid.

Special schools have been able to remain open throughout the pandemic. As part of the Covid-19 Vaccination programme, the Welsh Government plans for staff providing personal care to the most clinically vulnerable learners in special schools to be offered vaccinations by the end of February.

Kirsty Williams, the Education Minister, said:

“Covid-19 has created challenges for all our learners, but particularly those with Additional Learning Needs, their families and staff who support them.

“This funding will help young people return to or begin their learning journey. It includes support for young people in further education, by helping them complete their courses this year and progress to the next stage in their adult lives.” 

Rebecca Evans, the Finance Minister and Trefnydd, said:

“Research has shown the pandemic can have a particular impact on vulnerable children and young people, with some children missing out on education due to the complexity of their needs.

“As well as targeting funding to protect people from the short-term impact of the pandemic, our response ensures young people can continue to access education, which is vital to the longer term health of our economy and our society.”

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