By Elizabeth Williams, Senior Professional Officer (Wales)
On 7 January, I was proud to represent Voice at a joint union demonstration, organised by NAHT, to lobby for fair education funding in Wales.
The demo was organised on the day that Assembly Members debated the Welsh Government’s draft budget for 2020/21. The Welsh Government currently proposes funding of £1.78 billion towards education. This is virtually no increase on last year when inflation and long-term austerity cuts have been taken into account.
As education unions, we wanted to make the point to Assembly Members that education funding is an absolute priority if we want our learners in Wales to thrive and for the new curriculum to be successful.
Over the past ten years or so, we have seen scant commitment from politicians to prioritise education funding, despite numerous new education initiatives and, in fact, school staff redundancies and re-structures are increasingly common.
This is an untenable situation, both in terms of the recruitment and retention of the education workforce and in order to ensure we have the best education system that we possibly can have for children and young people in Wales.
We shall now have to see whether our demonstration has helped in making the case for education funding. I shall keep you informed of all developments.
The NAHT is asking headteachers, teachers, school support staff, governors, parents, politicians and anyone who has an interest in education to sign up to a joint petition letter to the First Minister, Mark Drakeford, asking him and his party to increase the proposed education spend in the draft budget. Voice supports this action so we would ask members in Wales to sign the letter. It will only take two minutes of your time.
Tuesday 7 January 2020: debate on the draft budget
Wednesday, 8 January 2020 09.15: Children, Young People and Education Committee: scrutiny of the draft budget Report (pdf) (31 January 2020)
Update (21 January 2020): Joint union school funding letter to the Welsh Government
Update (February 2020): Teachers' pay review remit letter for 2020/21 (pdf)