The Welsh Liberal Democrats have secured a budget deal with the Labour Assembly Government which will see substantial investment direct to schools in Rhondda Cynon Taff.
Councillor Mike Powell says
"Two years ago a deal was struck to introduce the pupil deprivation grant in Wales, as our Westminster colleagues had already done in England. Our Assembly Members forged an agreement with the Welsh Government that gave schools a sum of £450 for each pupil on free school meals.
"This year they have negotiated more than double that amount which will see schools in the county receive £7,183,350 in direct payments to help them close the attainment gap. The grant has been very well received by schools until now and this extra amount will make a real difference.
"The funding formula in Wales means that our children have been losing out compared to those across the border for years. This will go some way towards helping to close the gap and give our children a better chance in life. "
The Welsh Liberal Democrats, negotiating alongside Plaid Cymru, agreed a rise in the pupil deprivation grant to £918 per free schools meals pupil. The opposition parties refused to back the Labour Government's budget unless concessions were made that put extra funds into key priorities.
The deal also includes £50million to be put into an Intermediate Care Fund. RCT's Welsh Liberal Democrat Campaign Manager Karen Roberts explains
"This fund is intended to provide for more joined up care between hospital and home. It should speed up discharge arrangements and ease some of the pressure on beds in our hospitals.
"Often people, especially the elderly and disabled, are kept in hospital longer than they need to be because the support package for them to return home is not in place. It is hoped that this will alleviate some of the problems.
To top this off an extra £9.5million has been agreed for the Health Technologies Fund which will increase access to innovative treatments in Wales' NHS"
Example of how schools in RCT will benefit (approx. figures).
Blaengwawr Secondary - increase from 75,600 to 152,388
Trerobert Primary - increase from 23,850 to 55,080
Tonypandy Community College - increase from 76,500 to 157,896
Penrhys Primary - increase from 34,200 to 69,768
(Pontypridd / Taff Ely)
Hawthorn High - increase from 90,450 to 185,496
Parc Lewis - increase from 18,900 to 41,310