Figures obtained by an Assembly Member have revealed that Local Education Authorities in North Wales are spending millions catering for excluded pupils – and the amount is rising each year.
North Wales Regional AM, Mark Isherwood, and Clwyd West AM, Darren Millar, who obtained the figures, were shocked to learn just how much is being spent in the region on Pupil Referral Units (PRU). Each local education authority has a duty to make arrangements for the provision of education in or out of school for all children of compulsory school age. If children may not receive suitable education for any period for reasons such as illness or exclusion from school, these arrangements can be made through Pupil Referral Units.
Figures for 2007-2008, the latest available, show Wrexham spent the most out of the five authorities, a staggering £1.829m, up £278,000 on figures for 2003-2004.
The truth behind these figures are quite different, for starters Pupil Referral Units are not only for children who have been excluded from school but two of the four units in Wrecsam are for children who have not been excluded i.e there is a unit for girls of school age who have children.
Officers analysed the figures quoted by Messrs Millar and Isherwood and came to the conclusion that they included a lot more than the costs of the PRU's and services to excluded pupils. The disaggregated figures are as follows:
For information the total cost of the PRU's in 2003/2004 was as
follows: Gross £601k Net £467k, this compares to the 2007/08 figures of Gross £854k Net £612k
The net figure is the cost to Wrecsam, the gross figure is additional grants from other sources so the £1.829 million is three times more than the ACTUAL cost to Wrecsam CBC.
Tonight's lesson is that you should alway treat Tory statistics with an awful lot of caution, it is after all only the Tories who could confuse 5.4% and 54%...doh!!