WQ82861 (e) Tabled on 08/07/2021

What consideration has the Welsh Government given to waiving the 15 per cent contribution for faith schools in relation to the 21st century schools programme?

Answered by Minister for Education and the Welsh Language | Answered on 19/07/2021

Schedule 3 to the School Standards and Organisation Act 1998 provides very specific powers to the Welsh Ministers to provide grants in respect of Voluntary Aided (VA) schools premises and their repair. The amount that can be provided under this power is constrained to up to 85% of the total expenditure.

The Welsh Government intervention rate for VA schools under the 21st Century Schools and Colleges Programme is set at 85% in line with this legislation, with the responsibility for meeting the remaining 15% falling to the governing body.  To waive the 15% contribution could potentially open the Welsh Government to legal challenge.  Of course, the Diocese and local authority both have the discretion to provide a contribution towards VA school projects and this has happened in a number of cases.

My officials are currently looking again at the legal position with respect to funding for the VA sector as we understand that a number of the schools in that sector are in a poor state of repair.  They will provide me with advice in due course.