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£900 OF BOOKS FOR EVERY WELSH SCHOOL

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Welsh education minister Peter Hain has announced an extra£2.1m which will be devoted to boosting standards of lit...
Welsh education minister Peter Hain has announced an extra£2.1m which will be devoted to boosting standards of literacy in schools in Wales in 1998-99. Every school will be able to spend£900 on books, essential materials, additional training or classroom help.

This extra funding is part of the£12m announced in the chancellor's budget speech for raising standards and the enhancement of skills in education and training.

Mr Hain said: 'I want to involve every school in Wales in the 1998-99 national year of reading. I am therefore very pleased to be able to announce an immediate boost for schools so that every school can spend£900 on books or other aspects of their work aimed at raising standards of literacy in English or Welsh. This brings the total to£4.5 million for raising standards in literacy and numeracy. I know that this will be widely welcomed by teachers, parents and pupils alike.

'Libraries will also have a key role in support of local literacy strategies. I am also making available£10,000 for each library authority in Wales for materials directed specifically at raising standards of literacy in schools. I will expect libraries to consult schools and LEAs about how best to use the grant to support the local strategy.

'We are determined to transform the nation's attitude to reading. Books are the foundation on which other learning can be built. I hope that the national year of reading will inspire everyone - children and their parents, teenagers and adults, avid readers and those who hardly read at all - to open a book and unleash their imagination.'

The additional£12m budget funding aimed at raising standards in line with the Building Excellent Schools Together (BEST) agenda and for the enhancement of skills has been allocated as follows:

- Raising standards of literacy (books etc)£2.1m

- Reducing infant class sizes£2.4m

- Tackling social exclusion (via Wales Youth Agency)£0.3m

- Skills training (via FEFCW)£3.5m

- Addition to new deal for schools capital funding£2.2m

- Enhancing IT training and advisory services for businesses£1.5m

Notes

The Welsh Office will be writing to all local authorities with details of the literacy grant. Each school with 31 pupils or more will receive£900. Schools with 30 pupils or fewer will receive£30 per pupil. Schools can decide whether to spend the money on books and materials or to put it towards additional training or classroom help.

The additional£2.4m for infant class size reduction measures was included in the invitation to local authorities to bid, issued on 31 March. The total available with the resources released from the start of phasing out of the Assisted Places Scheme in 1998-99 is£3.7m.

The additional£0.3m for the Wales Youth Agency and£3.5m for FEFCW skills training were announced on 2 April at the launch of the Learning Is For Everyone Green Paper.

The additional new deal capital money brings the total available for local authority schools in 1998-99 to£13.2m. Authorities will shortly be invited to bid for capital schemes to repair and improve school buildings, provide security measures and reduce class sizes.

Details of provision for enhancing IT advisory and training services for businesses will be announced shortly.

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