Money aimed at helping poorer pupils may not be delivering value for money, according to a new report.
In Wales, Â£94 million a year is spent on the pupil development grant (PDG) â€“ but there are concerns that changes to Key Stage 4 assessments and school budget pressures may be having a detrimental effect on the grantâ€™s effectiveness where Looked After Children are concerned.
Welsh Conservatives have said they support the investment and the grantâ€™s core aims, but responding to the report by the Assemblyâ€™s Education Committee â€“ Shadow Education Secretary, Darren Millar, said:
â€œThis report highlights concerns with the Pupil Development Grant, and suggests that it may not be delivering value for money.
â€œThe investment is well-intentioned, and we support the grantâ€™s core aim but itâ€™s far from clear that enough is being done to make a meaningful difference – particularly where Looked After Children are concerned.
â€œChanges at Key Stage Four havenâ€™t helped, whilst the performance of regional consortia has been hit and miss, with the bodies lacking expertise and unwilling to consult widely enough.
â€œThe aim of this grant is to improve attainment outcomes for pupils from the poorest backgrounds, and the Welsh Government must ensure that there is a coherent, robust approach to ensure that this happens.â€�