Kirsty Williams, Cabinet Secretary for Education
I have today written to all schools in Wales to inform them of the changes we are making to the Pupil Deprivation Grant with effect from April.
Firstly, I am announcing a small, but significant change in the name of the grant. I believe the ‘Pupil Development Grant’ is more appropriate. Not only does this reflect the excellent practice that already exists across Wales, but I also believe this more positive name will better emphasise learner progression alongside reducing the attainment gap.
In Taking Wales Forward 2016 – 2021 we committed to ensuring every child gets the best start in life through an extended PDG. I am delighted that the innovative use of the grant is continuing to have an impact on the attainment on our most disadvantaged learners. I know from my many visits to schools around Wales that they highly value the PDG as a mechanism to ensure that we build greater equity within our education system. This is vital if we are to ensure that each and every learner has the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
To maintain this momentum, I intend to continue to fund schools to support pupils who require additional support via e-FSM and regional consortia to continue to deliver a regional approach to support looked after children at a rate of £1,150 per eligible learner for 2017-18. In addition I also intend to:
- double the Early Years PDG for learners in the Foundation Phase
- extend the PDG to support three year old looked after children at the same rate as all other looked after learners
- extend funding to learners who are in education other than at school (EOTAS), rather than just those who are in pupil referral units
- ensure that the regional education consortia strengthen their management arrangements to support secondary schools in delivering an aspirational target of at least 60% of PDG being invested at Key Stage 3 to address barriers to learning as they are identified.
I have always been very clear about my commitment to supporting disadvantaged learners and believe that only by doing so will we be able to sustainably push up attainment rates across Wales.
The PDG remains crucial in delivering on our shared commitment to reduce inequalities and remove barriers.
I am grateful to the very had work that our head teachers, teachers and our education workforce deliver each and every day in support of our most disadvantaged learners to ensure that we achieve our national mission of education reform.