More than £10m will be made available to extend a Welsh Government programme that provides support to the most disadvantaged learners in Wales, Education Minister Kirsty Williams confirmed today.
Speaking on a visit to Cardiff primary school Ysgol Glan Morfa, the Minister confirmed that funding for Wales’s Pupil Development Grant Access scheme would be doubled to cover additional years in 2020/21 and that the grant’s terms would be extended to allow the purchasing of laptops and tablets in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The funding of £10.3m – an increase from £5.1m in 2019/20 – will allow the Welsh Government to extend the scheme to provide support for those in years 1, 5, 8, 9 and 11, at a rate of £125 per learner.
Introduced in 2018, PDG-Access helps families cover the costs of school uniforms and sports kits, as well as equipment for activities outside of the school, including sports clubs and trips for outdoor learning.
It is funding that goes directly to the families who need it most to help with some of the costs of the school day.
To complement the scheme, the Welsh Government commissioned Children in Wales to produce a set of guides for schools covering key aspects of the cost of the school day. The guides focus on opportunities to change culture in schools around disadvantage and provide strategies for addressing particular challenges around the cost of the school day. The Price of Pupil Poverty guides are available on the Welsh Government website and encourage their use in schools and settings.
Education Minister Kirsty Williams said:
I believe strongly in the importance of the Pupil Development Grant as it is crucial to delivering the future success of our learners.
As I have set out in ‘Our National Mission’, I want Wales to have strong and inclusive schools committed to excellence, equity and well-being; a system there to support our most disadvantaged learners.
We know that the cost of the school day is an important issues to many families in Wales. I am delighted that we have been able to extend the policy to provide support to other year groups and also to allow families to purchase laptops and tablets which will support remote learning in these unprecedented times.
Schools in Wales are already well provisioned, with access to digital services and infrastructure through the Hwb EdTech programme, with more than 130,000 end-user devices distributed to schools.