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Monday, 2 April, 2001, 13:29 GMT 14:29 UK
Schools funded in 'postcode lottery'
School classroom
Schools risk becoming more about funding than curriculums
Education in Wales has turned into a "postcode lottery" because of changes in the way schools are funded, a government advisor has said.

Professor David Reynolds, a senior advisor on education, said divisions between areas were growing as a result of the Welsh Assembly's recent decision to abolish the suggested spending figure for education in Wales.

Mr Reynolds - head of the school of education at Exeter University - made his criticisms on BBC Wales's current affairs programme Taro Naw.

Professor David Reynolds, government advisor
Professor David Reynolds: 'No clear policy'
"No-one is telling you what they think you should be spending," he said.

"Education increasingly takes on the characteristics of a lottery where what you get is dependent on where you live."

But Welsh Assembly Education Minister Jane Davidson said she felt Mr Reynolds had the wrong figures.

"Ms Davidson pointed out that schools in Wales are being funded at comparable levels to schools in England," said an assembly spokeswoman.

"On a like for like basis the average per pupil funding in Wales is 2,870 ahead of 8 out of 10 English regions."

Last year, Mr Reynolds criticised the assembly for not daring to make the most of its opportunities, such as developing a Welsh baccalaureate to replace A-levels.

Jane Davidson, Assembly Education Minister
Jane Davidson: Disputes Professor Reynold's figures
Monday night's Taro Naw programme reveals widespread frustration and concern among teachers and educationalists, that Welsh primary and secondary school pupils are losing out financially and educationally compared to English pupils.

The most recent figures from the assembly and the Department of Education show Welsh local education authorities withhold more money from schools than authorities in England.

An average 85% of spending goes to schools in England compared to 80% in Wales.

A survey of 142 primary schools and 40 secondary schools in Wales - carried out by Beaufort Research for Taro Naw - reveals that the assembly's funding strategy has little support among teachers.

The findings show:

  • 76% of schools polled believed they received less money than comparable schools in England.

  • 73% of headteachers said they believed there was no difference in the educational needs of children in Wales to those in England, despite Assembly claims to the contrary.

    Welsh schools also disagreed with Assembly Education Minister Jane Davidson's view that Wales does not need to adopt the English National Initiatives policy.

    Lap-tops

    A total of 67% wanted the numeracy strategy, 58% wanted the literacy strategy and 84% wanted the various ICT strategies to be implemented in Wales as well.

    Another national policy for England rejected by the assembly was providing lap-top computers for head teachers and other computers for certain teachers in primary and secondary schools.

    A total of 92% of Welsh schools favoured the lap-top idea, and 88% wanted computers for teachers.

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    See also:

    03 Aug 00 | Unions 2000
    Fairer funding call for schools
    31 Aug 00 | Education
    School funding in 'disarray'
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