Letter to the Editor of the Daily Post
The First Minister Carwyn Jones’s announcement that the Welsh Assembly Government will reduce bureaucracy and red tape to ensure more money gets to schools is to be welcomed (Get Cash to Pupils who need it, Daily Post, January 20th). It is however a shame that the First Minister’s review will only extend to increasing the money flowing from local authorities to schools. What about the money that flows from the Welsh Assembly’s Department for Children and Education (DCELLS) to Local Authority?, surely the First Minister is not trying to say there is no bureaucracy and red tape within the Assembly that need reviewing?. Whilst the Assembly have imposed swingeing efficiency savings on Local Authorities over the last 5 years some authorities such as Wrecsam have avoided making any cuts to School budgets over the same period.
If the First Minister cannot immediately think of an area within DCELLS where he can make massive savings perhaps he will allow me to make a suggestion. In April 2006, ELWa (Education & Learning Wales) was brought under the auspices of the Welsh Assembly Government as it was failing. A review found that approx 100 of ELWa employees were surplus to requirements; did they leave, no they didn’t they went to 4 Area Teams around Wales to support Local Authorities to improve their education provision. As one who has been closely involved with education over the last 18 months I am at a loss to explain what those 25 ex ELWa officers based in North Wales have done to Wrecsam and its schools to improve in the last 4 years. Had Rhodri Morgan and Jane Hutt taken some difficult decisions in 2006 there would be millions more pounds now available to education in Wales.
Perhaps Carwyn Jones and Leighton Andrews’s time would be better served cutting waste closer to home.
Councillor Arfon Jones.