Wales Election 2016

Welsh Assembly election: Lib Dems' education challenge

Classroom

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have challenged rival parties to match their promise to protect education spending.

Leader Kirsty Williams claimed hers was the only party to make such a pledge ahead of the assembly election in May.

The Lib Dems aim to cut infant class sizes and give schools more money for pupils from a poorer background.

Ms Williams said the Lib Dems had listened to parents' concerns and said it was time for other parties to "step up to the plate".

'Fair start'

"If you value the importance of education, then we are the party for you," she said before visiting a school in Cardiff on Thursday.

"The last five years have shown that we are the party of education: we're the only party to prioritise education in budget negotiations, which has delivered over £282m for our schools through our Pupil Premium.

"We recognise that education is vitally important to ensure everyone has a fair start in life, and so that we have a well-skilled economy.

"That is why we will ring-fence spending on education: both for schools and higher education."

Welsh Labour is promising £100m extra to drive up standards in schools, and to create 100,000 "all-age" apprenticeships.

The Welsh Conservatives have pledged £150m of direct funding for schools, and to transform teacher training.

Plaid Cymru promises 50,000 extra apprenticeships, and aims to boost the quality of teaching by paying a 10% annual premium to teachers with extra skills.

UKIP is calling for the development of grammar and vocational schools, claiming they will help able youngsters from poorer backgrounds.

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