Swansea education and social services poised to get budget boost

EXTRA money could be ploughed into education and social services if Swansea’s budget is approved this month.

It is the first budget for the Labour administration since they took over the reigns at the council last year.

The city’s schools’ budget is to jump by more than £2.7 million and on top of that an extra £350,000 is being pumped into a range of extra support for specialist education services and 20mph zones around schools.

It is also set to spend an extra £4.9million on supporting some of the most vulnerable old and young people in city communities.

Even though some savings will be made on adult care, £2.4 million extra is going on adult services.

The budget goes before cabinet tomorrow and full council on Thursday, February 14.

Rob Stewart, cabinet member for finance, said education spending was the “biggest single investment the local authority made in the future of our city”.

And he added: “Maintaining and developing social care and child and family services that are sustainable and effective is a vital part of what Swansea Council does.”

As well as more money on education itself, cash is going into school safety. The authority is pledging an additional £350,000 for 20mph zones for roads around schools that want them. That money will also go towards extra support for specialist education services.

And he added: “As a council we are committed to giving children and young people the best possible start in life. According to the Welsh Government our secondary schools are already among the best-performing in Wales and attendance figures for primary schools in Swansea are at an all-time high.”

Will Evans, the council’s cabinet member for education, said: “Improving education is a priority for us because it can help tackle poverty and lift aspirations particularly among children and families in some of the city’s most deprived areas.

“That’s why we’re putting extra money into the highly-successful restorative practice programme which teachers on the front line tell us is helping improve behaviour and school attendance.

“We’re also going to recruit more teaching assistants to boost the ‘Team around the Family’ initiative as well as target additional funding for the Youth Service.”

And peaking about the investment in social services. Mark Child, the council’s cabinet member for wellbeing, added: “All families are concerned at some point about support for elderly relatives.

“Our funding for support in their own homes or in a residential setting, and our commitment to modernising services in the future will give people confidence that they will be cared for in the most appropriate way.

“Our investment of a further £2.5million for child and family services reflects our determination to support children and young people so they have the chance to make the most of the opportunities open to them in the years ahead.”