The poorest children in Wales are being let down by the Welsh Labour Government, Aled Roberts AM has argued today following the publication of the second 'State of the nation' report into social mobility and child poverty.
The report was commissioned by the UK Government and produced by a group chaired by former Labour Minister Alan Milburn said that is was "especially concerned " that a smaller proportion of Welsh children who receive free school meals achieve five good GCSEs (26%) compared to children from similar backgrounds in England (38%).
Aled Roberts, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Minister, said:
"This damning report highlights the magnitude of the Welsh Labour Government's failings. It again confirms that the poorest in our society are continuing to be let down.
"Welsh pupils from the poorest backgrounds continue to underperform compared to pupils from a similar background across the border. That, frankly, is not good enough and is a damning indictment of Welsh Labour's policies.
"I am pleased the report has picked up on a substantial focus on closing the attainment gap in Wales thanks to the Pupil Deprivation Grant. This money, secured by the Welsh Liberal Democrats, will mean extra support for the poorest pupils in Wales.
"The report makes clear that three-year-olds in deprived areas are failing to make the expected progress. For that reason, I am particularly pleased we have managed to extend the Pupil Deprivation Grant to under 5s. It is simply unacceptable that even by that young age children are falling behind.
"While the ambitions of 'Flying Start' are very much to be welcomed, this report echoes our concerns that poor families who do not live in disadvantaged areas are being excluded from the scheme. The Welsh Labour Government must address this major fault in the scheme. It is time the Welsh Government introduced much more measurable outcomes so that the success, or otherwise, of the scheme can be more readily addressed. It is clear there is too much inconsistency across Wales."