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Teaching jobs axed as budget cuts take their toll

09 Jul 2024 3 minute read
Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Liam Randall, local democracy reporter

Nearly 50 teaching jobs have been axed as the impact of a council’s budget cuts begins to take hold.

Wrexham Council’s education budget for the current financial year was reduced by £5.4m (five per cent) in real terms in February.

Senior councillors blamed a drop in central government funding at the time, combined with high inflation levels.

Figures have now been released by the local authority showing that 26 teaching assistants and 23 teachers have either been made redundant or their contracts allowed to expire since the decision was made.

A report going to the council’s lifelong learning scrutiny committee this week highlights that 23 schools (22 primary and one secondary) were dealing with a reduction in staffing as of May.

Budget deficit 

Cllr Phil Wynn (Ind), Wrexham’s lead member for education, said it was also expected to lead to a rise in the number of schools reporting a budget deficit.

In the report, he said: “It is recognised that the application of the five per cent budget saving and increased pressures within the education system has placed school leaders in an extremely difficult position.

“There are significant concerns across the system that this will affect the educational offer for all learners. This picture is common to all local authorities in Wales.

“Other factors have also contributed to the challenge. In Wrexham, a demographic budget adjustment has been made to all school budgets, which takes account of the shift in pupil numbers from the primary to the secondary sector.

“Also, there has been a significant change in the delegation of specific grants from Welsh Government.”

He added: “The impact so far has reflected what was reported within the impact assessment completed when the budget decision was made.

“That assessment also noted that the impact would vary from school to school and that it would take time to assess wider impacts on educational provision.”

‘Close review’

He said the situation would be kept under “close review” by the local authority.

Concerns were raised last month that the school budget cuts could have a negative impact on work to support pupil wellbeing.

The report shows that the number of schools in Wrexham reporting a budget deficit at the end of 2023/24 stood at 14.

Cllr Wynn said: “Work is progressing well in supporting schools with setting a planned budget for the 2024/25 financial year.

“A robust process is in place to ensure all plans submitted are scrutinised to ensure they are realistic and deliverable.

“The local authority operates a licensed deficit scheme for schools in financial difficulty.

“In order to support schools appropriately, reflecting the challenges of the current financial climate, the scheme has been reviewed to ensure that it is fit for purpose.”

The report will be discussed by councillors at a meeting being held on Thursday (July 11, 2024).

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Mr Williams
Mr Williams
4 days ago

Labour, please get your promised 6,500 new teachers recruited quickly.

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