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New Welsh government funding offered for small and rural schools

23/11/2017 Joanna

The Welsh government has announced that small and rural schools across the country are to benefit from a £2.5 million funding injection.

Local authorities have been applying for a share of the funding since the support package was announced in November last year, with the recipients of the money now confirmed. Funds will be spent on projects designed to encourage innovation and support greater school-to-school collaboration.

Examples of this include the use of digital technology to combat the issue of professional isolation, as well as the provision of administrative support for schools where headteachers have significant teaching commitments. Efforts will also be made to facilitate the collaboration and federation of schools, and to allow the use of school facilities for community purposes where demand exists.

The Anglesey region, for instance, will receive £138,000 to federate some of its schools, while Pembrokeshire has been awarded £158,000 to fund a small school innovation project for a network of 15 small and rural schools.

Welsh education secretary Kirsty Williams said: "Small and rural schools play an important role in our national mission to raise standards and extend opportunities for all our young people.

"We are taking action and providing new funding to help small and rural schools deal with the unique challenges they face, such as small pupil numbers and issues in recruiting head teachers and staff."

Ms Williams also confirmed that new plans are being launched to consult on strengthening the School Organisation Code's presumption against the closure of rural schools, with a specific designation of rural schools to be established for that purpose for the first time.

A 14-week consultation ended on September 30th, with responses currently being analysed.

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