The Welsh Government has announced it is investing almost £25m in Community Focused Schools in the next financial year to tackle the impact of poverty on young people’s attainment.
The funding will be used to ensure more schools are able to operate and develop as Community Focused Schools, which engage families and work with the wider community to support all pupils and particularly those disadvantaged by poverty.
Of this funding, £20m will be invested in delivering Community Focused Schools, to fund practical ways of improving school facilities to enable greater community use. This includes providing equipment storage for community groups running extra-curricular activities and introducing security measures to segregate school and community use areas.
This funding will be allocated to local authorities across Wales on a formula basis based on pupil and school numbers.
Announcing the funding, Education and Welsh Language Minister, Jeremy Miles MS said:
‘Community Focused schools develop partnerships with a range of organisations, and make services accessible locally to families and the wider community. They use their facilities and resources to benefit the communities they serve, improve the lives of the children, strengthen families and build stronger communities.’
Play Wales said:
‘Play Wales welcomes the Welsh Government investment and commitment to ensure that more schools can operate and develop as Community Focused Schools. This greatly supports our Wales – a play friendly place manifesto call to the Welsh Government to make better use of community assets, such as school grounds, for play.
Children’s access to outdoor space for play, exercise and enjoyment differs greatly across Wales and this inequity was heightened during the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns. Encouraging children and their families to “stay and play” when the teaching day ends has tremendous benefits, from the positive effects on children health and happiness, community engagement and wellbeing, to the enhancement of a local sense of community.’