Neath Port Talbot UNISON branch has welcomed Welsh Government’s decision to reverse the cuts to educational support funding to the Minority Ethnic Achievement Service (MEAS) and the Traveller Education Service (TES) by providing partial funding for this year to Neath Port Talbot Council and committing to funding all 22 Local Authorities next year.
Following campaigning by Neath Port Talbot UNISON, the Cabinet Secretary for Education has reinstated some funding for these groups under the Education Improvement Grant (EIG).
In May, Neath Port Talbot UNISON launched a petition calling for fair funding across Wales for these services. This was after it was announced that a sum of £7.5 million had been allocated to only four local authorities – Swansea, Cardiff, Newport and Wrexham.
Mark Fisher, Neath Port Talbot UNISON said,
“I commend Welsh Government for taking onboard the concerns expressed by our branch and by the almost 400 people who signed our petitions, and reinstating this funding. I am pleased that Welsh Government has realised their mistake and corrected this issue.
“I would also like to thank those whose signatures came in from across Wales calling for Welsh Government to think again about de-funding this vital local service. Any reduction in funding would have been devastating.
“This partial funding will now allow support workers in our local schools at Margam and Briton Ferry, as well as in similar schools across every other local authority area in Wales, to continue providing a fantastic service to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged learners.
“Welsh Government should reinstate the full grant to Neath Port Talbot CBC which will not only save jobs, but also will allow staff to work with these groups of disadvantaged people who rely on this fantastic service the local communities require.
“We urge the Welsh Government to reconsider any decisions to cut this funding.”