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Via .@welshconserv

The Education Secretary has been forced into an embarrassing climb-down over the decision to scrap a grant which provided support to thousands of pupils with the purchase of school uniforms.

The U-turn comes just weeks after pledging to scrap the £700,000 fund, and follows heavy criticism from Welsh Conservatives and organisations including the Bevan Foundation and the National Union of Teachers (NUT).

The grant last year helped 5,500 learners with the cost of their uniforms and was available to all Year 7 pupils eligible for free school meals.

The Education Secretary – Kirsty Williams – has today announced a new fund (PDG Access) that will sit alongside the Welsh Government’s existing Pupil Development Grant, and offer support for the poorest pupils with the cost of their school uniforms.

Commenting, Shadow Education Secretary, Darren Millar, said:

“Today’s announcement amounts to an embarrassing climb-down from the Minister, and comes after a huge backlash from all corners.

“Make no mistake, the Education Secretary has been forced into doing the right thing.

“We warned that scrapping the grant would hit the poorest pupils the hardest and thankfully the Welsh Government has seen sense.

“Labour’s bonfire of education grants is causing huge concern amongst parents and teachers alike, and this u-turn is a sad indictment of the Welsh Government’s mismanagement of its resources.�