Dear Parents/Carers 22 February 2019
You may have heard about the financial challenges our schools are facing due to continuous, year on year cuts to our funding. This year alone the real term cut to school budgets is between 3.6% and 4%. By making this joint response, Head teachers in Conwy aim to ensure that parents understand the challenges we now face in continuing to provide quality education for your children and improving standards of teaching and learning whilst having to deal with reducing financial resources and increasing costs.
We therefore encourage you to support us please.
With increased pressures on school budgets and cuts to services that support our most vulnerable young people and their families, it is make-or-break time for our schools. The financial situation has become critical. Sadly, some staff will be made redundant due to these cuts and schools are facing a deficit budget year on year which, simply put, means that they will have less money than they need to ensure that they have the necessary staff and resources to deliver their current programmes of teaching and learning.
Schools have an ever-increasing role in supporting pupils and their families. We work collaboratively with many external agencies such as social services, health departments and Child and Adolescent Mental Health services. This is becoming ever more difficult due to the financial constraints created by these cuts to our budgets. In the end, it is the children within our communities who will suffer – they deserve better.
We are all having to make difficult decisions that will potentially result in: –
- Larger class sizes and fewer teachers and support staff
- School buildings falling into disrepair
- Reduction in support for pupils with Additional Learning and Wellbeing Needs;
these include pupils who require, for example:
– learning support programmes
– mental health and emotional support programmes
– behaviour support programmes
– nurture programmes
and all at a time when demand for these services has never been higher. Continued …
- Cuts to pastoral services including teaching assistants and support staff in general
- Outdated computer equipment
- Fewer trips and after school activities that have previously been subsidised or offered free
- Significant challenge to the growth of Welsh medium education and meeting the ‘Million Welsh Speakers’
Sadly, grant funding which was previously used to provide enhanced provision for our pupils is now being used to support the core provision within our schools. Capable, experienced support staff that possess the key skills and knowledge to deliver these valuable support programmes are facing redundancy.
All head teachers are very proud of their schools. Our dedicated staff do all they can to provide valuable and relevant learning experiences for our pupils and work hard to improve standards year on year. Our pupils, your children, respond positively to the opportunities they receive and we feel that it is our duty to work with you as parents, and with the wider community, to ensure that they fulfil their potential. However, the current situation is unsustainable.
According to the Welsh Government, “Our national mission is to raise standards, reduce the attainment gap and deliver an education system that is a source of national pride and confidence.” However, we are already facing a radical overhaul of our education system with a new curriculum and new Additional Learning Bill about to be launched. With insufficient funding and without the necessary staff and resources to implement these changes, school staff feel undervalued and further stretched.
We want to do the best for our pupils, we want them to achieve great things, we want to set courageous goals and we want to work together to deliver the national mission but we need the means to do so. A representative group of Conwy head teachers has already met with local councillors to raise their awareness of the impact that the cuts will have on our schools, our staff and our pupils. You can help us by signing the online petition below:
You can also write to your MP, AM and local councillors and forward this letter, adding your sincere concerns. In this way, we can let our national and local leaders know that we are most apprehensive for the future of education in Wales, and for the future of our pupils.
Thank you in advance for your support.
Iwan Lloyd Jones