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Extra £19m announced for education and early years learners in Wales

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An extra £19m has been announced to support education and early years settings in Wales.

The Welsh Government says the money will be used to ensure children continue their learning progress after disruption due to the pandemic, with a focus on the wellbeing of children and staff.

Of that funding, £13m will support early years learners in both schools and non-maintained settings, while £6 million will be allocated to schools to support teaching staff and promote wellbeing and progression.

The Welsh Government says this latest cash injection takes spending on learning for under-18s to more than £150m since the start of the pandemic.

Education minister Jeremy Miles said: “The last year has brought into sharp focus just how important our schools, settings, colleges and universities are for our children and young people. Education practitioners have risen heroically to meet the challenge, while learners have been brilliant in adapting to learning in different ways.

“Having opportunities for meaningful, quality interactions is essential for our early years learners. Today I’m announcing a further £13million for early years settings to provide extra support for the unique needs of our younger children.

“We must recover and reform. I am determined that the emphasis on well-being and flexibility shown over the last year is built upon and closely aligned with the introduction of our new curriculum. Our education system has shown remarkable resilience and flexibility and we must learn from that.”

Mr Miles was appointed minister for education and Welsh language when First Minister Mark Drakeford revealed his new cabinet team earlier this month.

The previous education minister was Kirsty Williams, who announced in October that she would not be standing as a candidate in the 2021 Senedd elections.

In his role, Mr Miles will oversee the introduction of Wales’ new curriculum and the post-pandemic catch-up programme for schools.

The new curriculum is set to be introduced next year after it was recently approved during a Parliamentary vote.

It will replace the national curriculum, which had been a core part of Welsh education since 1988.

But one teaching union has called for it to be delayed to help teachers and students recover from the pandemic.

Dr Patrick Roach, general secretary of NASUWT, said: “Teachers have been on the front line during the Covid-19 pandemic, coping with unprecedented pressure to support pupils both in school and through remote learning.

“The Welsh Government must give teachers sufficient time, training and resources to ensure the introduction of the new curriculum runs smoothly.”

The Welsh Government says reform of the curriculum remains a key priority.


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