Conwy ‘primary schools £145,000 worse off than those in Gwynedd’ claims outraged councillor
Richard Evans, local democracy reporter
Conwy primary schools are receiving as much as £145,000 a year less than equivalent schools in Gwynedd, claims an outraged councillor.
At a council meeting today, Cllr Anne McCaffrey put forward a motion requesting ‘a root and branch’ review of schools and sixth forms in the county.
Cllr McCaffrey wanted the review to consider the efficiency, sufficiency and effectiveness of the core funding allocated by the council.
The motion comes after recent education cuts and criticism of the cabinet voting to ‘plunder’ £307,000 from school budgets to fund a teachers’ pay rise.
Councillors heard how over £13m had been cut from Conwy school budgets over the last 10 years and that Conwy was ranked fifth in core budget funding out of the six North Wales counties.
Much of the cuts were blamed on poor settlements from Welsh Government.
But after a three-minute address to the council by Cllr McCaffrey, as well as a speech by Cllr Gareth Jones, chair Cllr Abdul Khan said the matter must first be discussed at the educational scrutiny committee.
Cllr McCaffrey said children’s education was being hampered by cost cutting.
“I don’t want to kick it in the long grass,” she said. “We know this time next year we will be faced with imposing further cuts on our schools. Will that be 5%, 7% or 10%?
“I was shocked (to learn) a 300-pupil primary school in Gwynedd will receive around about £145,000 more to its school budget than a Conwy primary school. That means schools in Gwynedd will be able to afford two more teachers and possibly two more teaching assistants compared to Conwy.
“Who knew that disparity existed?”
Cllr McCaffrey added: “We can only guess on the impact of this on our children’s outcome.”
Retired headmaster Cllr Gareth Jones seconded the motion before chair Cllr Abdul Khan said the matter must first go to a scrutiny committee.
Cllr Jones said: “Schools, as we know, face exceptional challenges these days, and a number of us, perhaps all of us, are concerned about the future. That is the basis for this proposal.
“The pressures and increasing demands referred to, such as the new curriculum, provision for additional learning needs, the Welsh Language strategy, it is a perfect storm, and all requires further resources, which puts schools in a very difficult position.”
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