Headlines: May 19th, 2010

The prospect of more regional consortia to provide educational support services is one of the ideas in a major report looking at ways to get more money to front line education in Wales. The report from the Welsh Assembly Education Minister, Leighton Andrews, identifies opportunities to move resources from administration to the delivery of services.

It calculates the cost of administering education and considers the numbers of staff working in administering the education system. The report analyses 4.1 billion pounds of annual spending on education in Wales and says direct funding for learning and teaching and other education expenditure accounts for 68 per cent of that total. The remainder goes to support functions, such as service management and financial administration.

It identifies key opportunities for further exploration under two themes. The first is Simplifying Governance, which includes looking for opportunities to simplify grant scheme structures. The second, Standardising and Sharing Provision, includes the possibility of developing more regional consortia sharing educational support. Under this heading the report also suggests there could be scope for schools to form clusters to share resources and facilities.

Mr Andrews said he wanted to ensure that more funding reached the education front line in schools, colleges and universities. “Much has already been done across the public sector in Wales, specifically within education to deliver efficiencies and improve services to achieve the highest possible standards of education and training,” he said and added: “The review is not about cuts in funding, but freeing up resources by changing the balance in funding between front line and support services.”