Leighton Andrews, Minister for Education and Skills
From April 2012, funding to support Welsh Language provision in schools will transfer to, and be administered by, the Department for Education and Skills. The new Welsh in Education Grant for 2012-13 will consolidate funding previously provided by the following grant schemes:
- the former Better Schools Fund (Priority Area 2), separately administered as the Welsh in Education Grant during 2011-12;
- the Welsh Language Board grant for athrawon bro;
- the Welsh Language Board grant for pilot latecomers’ immersion projects and primary-secondary school linguistic progression.
The total Welsh Government contribution to these grant schemes in 2011-12 is £5.65m, supplemented by local authority match funding.
The Welsh Education Schemes of Local Authorities, currently agreed and monitored by the Welsh Language Board, will also be replaced from April 2012 by the Welsh in Education Strategic Plans that will be submitted to the Welsh Government. The Welsh in Education Grant and the Welsh in Education Strategic Plans will be directly linked, both being aimed at achieving the outcomes and targets of the Welsh-medium Education Strategy. These changes will lead to our policy and funding in this area being more closely aligned.
Draft guidelines for the Welsh in Education Grant will be published alongside this Written Statement. The guidelines include the following points:
- an expectation of local authority match funding at a minimum level of 33%. Local authorities are also encouraged to continue the past practice of providing more than the minimum level of match-funding towards this grant;
- the expected outcomes of the grant to be those of the Welsh in Education Strategic Plans being aimed at achieving the outcomes and targets of the Welsh-medium Education Strategy;
- the grant in 2012-13 is to be distributed to local authorities on the same basis as the component grant allocations in 2011-12, with transition to a formula-based allocation over the following three-year period. The formula will take into account Welsh-medium provision as well as Welsh-language teaching. It will also recognise the additional demands associated with providing language support in less densely populated rural areas. The change to formula-based funding over the period 2013-14 to 2015-16 will lead to a more equitable distribution of funding, being mindful that this will also mean funding is re-distributed between local authorities, I am phasing in this change over a number of years in order to allow local authorities to plan their services appropriately to avoid any disruption.
- in order to allow for the continuity of services during this period of change, the delegation rate to schools will be 50% in 2012-13, increasing in future years as consortium arrangements become embedded;
- the grant will be top-sliced to set up a Welsh in Education support team. This team will facilitate, support and coordinate grant-related activities at local authority and consortium level.
These changes that I am introducing represent a further significant step in the ongoing work of implementing the Welsh-medium Education Strategy.