Extra funding to support schools during pandemic

Bridgend County Borough Council has received millions of pounds in extra funding from Welsh Government to help schools navigate the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

So far, about £4m has been received for schools and other education settings with further funding expected in 2021-22.

Earlier this month, Welsh Government announced an extra £72million to further support learning recovery and progression in schools. Of this, £33million has been allocated to 2020-21 with the remainder for 2021-22. About £1.55million has been allocated to schools and nurseries in Bridgend County Borough.

The funding includes extra learning resources and support for foundation phase children in schools and childcare settings that provide early education. Support will also be targeted at learners in years 11, 12 and 13, to provide additional help with their transition into the next stage.

An additional £50million towards improvements to school buildings across Wales has also been announced.

Bridgend County Borough has received about £2.3million from this fund, which will allow local authorities to focus on large-scale maintenance projects, such as replacement roofs, new window systems or heating and ventilation works. It is in addition to Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools and Colleges programme.

The council has also received extra funding for things like face coverings for secondary school pupils returning to classrooms, additional cleaning materials and other equipment to ensure schools remain as Covid-safe as possible.

Additionally, investment has been made to allow schools to recruit extra staff to support learners, as well as providing extra support for pupils with additional learning needs and extending access to the Pupil Development Grant.

Cllr Charles Smith, Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, said: “During what has been an extremely difficult period for staff, learners and their parents/carers, I welcome this extra funding to help us mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

“As children return to face-to-face learning, the funding will help to ensure the right support is in place for them.

“Schools continue to work hard to make sure the learning environment remains as safe as possible for pupils as they return to their classrooms, and I thank staff for their efforts in adapting to the changing nature of the situation.”