Help to Buy – Wales Shared Equity Scheme »This shared equity loan will make up the shortfall between the purchase price of a property and the funding available to buyers through their cash deposit and mortgage offer.Learn more »
“Autumn Statement has done little to change the challenging public finance outlook for Wales” – Jane Hutt
Wales’ Finance Minister Jane Hutt has responded to the UK Government’s Autumn Statement – saying that it has done little to change the challenging public finance outlook for Wales.
- New guidance on care and support for over 65s
- Independent report revealed at the Event Wales International Conference 2013 outlines positive impact of games and events for Wales
- “Autumn Statement has done little to change the challenging public finance outlook for Wales” – Jane Hutt
- Consultation on Regional engagement partnership structures in the tourism sector
- Implementation of Commission Directive 2013/45/EU concerning the change to the botanical name of tomato
- School term dates regulations
- Beyond 2011: Consultation on Census and future provision of population statistics in England and Wales
- M4 Corridor around Newport Consultation
- Undertaking fatal and non-fatal drug poisoning reviews in Wales
Featured consultation »New guidance for the Risk Assessment of Walked Routes to School
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In this section
Section highlightThe Housing (Wales) Bill
The Bill will introduce significant improvements across the housing sector to ensure that people have access to a decent, affordable home and better housing-related services.
Legislative programme 2013 - 2014 »
The First Minister detailed the 8 bills in the Welsh Government’s 5-year Legislative Programme that will be brought forward during the 3rd year of the Welsh Assembly.Learn more »
Section highlightProject pipeline update - December 2013
This Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan annex highlights planned investments and potential procurement opportunities.
Final Budget 2014-15 »
The amount of funding allocated to Welsh Government Departments for 2014-15 is £14.9bn.Learn more »
- Statistics & Research
Flying Start And Raise
The Assembly Government has recently introduced two new grant programmes focussed on improving the life chances of children and young people living in disadvantaged circumstances – so that like all children and young people in Wales they can benefit from a flying start in life and develop their talents to the full through their education.
Between December 2005 and February 2006 we consulted on the Flying Start initiative. It will fund high quality services for children aged 0 to 3 years
in the most disadvantaged communities in Wales including extra health visiting, free high quality childcare for two year olds, basic skills programmes and parenting courses. £15 million is being provided to local authorities in 2006-07 and £31m in 2007-08. Every aspect of the initiative draws on international evidence of what works in making a significant change in the prospects for these children and their families.
A summary of the consultation responses accompanies this statement at Annex A. There was strong endorsement that the programme should be led by local partnerships, and general agreement that it should be focussed on specific areas – defined as school catchments. Many respondents were anxious that the programme should build on the achievements of Sure Start. I can confirm that our guidance endorses this since in many areas Sure Start is already delivering elements of the Flying Start entitlement.
However, there was concern about the proposal that funding should be allocated according to the number of children in schools in each local authority with free school meal eligibility of over 45% of pupils. Key concerns were in relation to the fact that grant recipients would be below statutory school age and some of the school catchment areas did not coincide with target areas for Cymorth grant while Flying Start depends on some Cymorth supported expenditure to achieve the required intensity of intervention.
Following discussion with the WLGA I have decided on a different approach to distribution of grant. Local partnerships will have discretion to choose school catchment areas for the delivery of Flying Start. However there will be an overall cap on the number of children targeted in each local authority area so that use of grant is focused on areas with high levels of need and can make a real difference. Each local authority-led Children and Young People’s Partnership will need to justify its choice of areas to receive Flying Start grant by reference in particular to the index of multiple deprivation, pupil entitlement to free school meals and the relationship with Community First wards.
The funding will be allocated to local authorities using the same formula as is used for the Cymorth grant. It is largely based on take up of benefits and therefore strongly linked to deprivation. The Welsh Local Government Association agrees this approach.
We intend Flying Start should remain a specific ring-fenced grant to local authorities until at least April 2011. I hope this will give local authorities and their partners the stability to recruit and retain good quality staff to run the programme.
Though schools will have a role to play in delivering Flying Start and linking it with pupil transition to the foundation phase, it is not a programme delivered by schools. In contrast the RAISE programme is largely school based.
I was delighted to secure the agreement of my Cabinet colleagues that £16m should be used to improve educational outcomes for pupils who are underachieving, particularly where there is disadvantage. £13m is additional funding resulting from the Chancellor’s budget statement and £3m was already in the ELLS budget for 2006-07 onwards.
As with Flying Start grant, the evidence underpinning RAISE grant is that it must be focused on schools with the very highest levels of deprivation so as to have a real impact. Taking account of 2006 school census data funding of £14,602,140 is being distributed to 548 schools with 20% or more of pupils eligible for FSM and more than 50 pupils of compulsory school age on roll.
The list of schools added as a result of including 2006 FSM eligibility data is at Annex B.
There is a strong and established link between attainment and free school meal eligibility - as the level of FSM entitlement increases, the level of achievement decreases (Assembly Statistical Bulletin 20/2006). RAISE funding will allow eligible schools to target the link between deprivation and attainment, enhancing the educational expectations and attainment of pupils of all ages.
£1 million of RAISE funding is being provided to local authorities to support individual looked after children. This funding is being provided to local authorities in their role as corporate parents to give support in addition to normal school provision – support of the kind which parents usually provide for their children.
Key elements of the RAISE programme are a team of professionals promoting, developing and sharing best practice; and external evaluation. From this two year programme we intend to establish a body of evidence on which to base long term, cutting edge policy to break the link between deprivation and low attainment – a link which the Narrowing the Gap evidence has shown can be broken.
Flying Start works in and through the communities where pre-school children from deprived backgrounds live. RAISE works through the schools which have the highest incidence of pupils from deprived backgrounds. The approach to both programmes demonstrates the Assembly Government’s commitment to targeting resources where they are most needed so as to make a real difference for these young people and deliver our social justice agenda for Wales. At the same time these programmes enable us to test new and innovative approaches which other communities and other schools will be able to learn from.