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Tory MS slams council and Welsh Government over education cuts

29 Jul 2023 3 minute read
Janet Finch-Saunders MS. Photo Welsh Conservatives

Richard Evans, local democracy reporter

Aberconwy MS Janet Finch-Saunders has criticised Conwy County Council for making education cuts and blamed the Welsh Government for asking the cash-strapped authority to fund an education quango.

Conwy controversially slashed school budgets by 5% whilst increasing council tax by nearly 10% earlier this year.

Since then a number of primary schools have been forced to make redundancies and request loans to cover running costs.

Meanwhile, some non-mandatory after-school clubs in the county are now being cancelled whilst non-statutory home-to-school transport is also being reviewed across Conwy.

Aberconwy MS Janet Finch-Saunders has criticised Conwy’s cuts as well as Welsh Government.

GWE

The MS said Welsh Government is to blame for Conwy having to make payments to GWE, an educational advisory body, rather than investing the funds in its own education system.

But the MS said headteachers were struggling to make ends meet.

“I’d like to think I know how a council should perform. As far as the cuts to education are concerned in Conwy, the council is still paying – because the Welsh Government tell them to – GWE,” she said.

“My point where GWE is concerned, nobody has tested GWE for whether it is value for money or not. But it does cost several hundred thousand pounds (a year). I would prefer to see that money going directly to the education system itself. Local authorities pay that sum.

“They (GWE) put courses on for teachers who have to attend, but then the headteachers have to get another supply teacher in, and sometimes when they come back from these conferences with things that they’ve been trained in, it’s not how that particular school works.

“I’m told by many teachers and headteachers I talk to that the council has signed up to the dictat for that, yet they can’t afford to properly fund schools in Conwy.

“Teachers are going around stressed for the summer holidays simply because they don’t know how they are going to make ends meet in September.

“The cost of spend per pupil is lower than England anyway. But headteachers themselves can’t actually run schools without having to sack (make redundant) teachers and teaching assistants. But there’s something going badly wrong with that local authority (Conwy).

“They raised the council tax, the highest in Wales, yet they are still cutting the funding for education.”

Terrible pressure

She added: “The pupils and teachers will suffer. The headteachers are affected by these cuts in funding. It puts terrible pressure on them. Certainly a large number of teachers and head teachers are affected by the cuts in the funding.”

On GWE’s website, the organisation says, ‘Proudly Welsh and internationally informed, we will support our schools to become successful and confident learning organisations. We will collaborate to provide learners with the climate and education they deserve so that they become capable and resilient individuals who realise their full potential.”

Conwy County Council and GWE were contacted for a comment.. The Welsh Government said they did not wish to comment.


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adopted cardi
adopted cardi
8 months ago

to JFS- Offas Dyke is thataway- East wards. When you get there don’t stop, keep going and don’t come back!. AndTake your followers with you!

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
8 months ago

Well, we haven’t heard from JFS for a while but she of the party which protects shareholders’ quadrillions and prescribes austerity and poverty for the rest of us is pushing the standard Tory hypocrisy line slamming others for carrying out cuts. Once again, a Tory speaks where they have no business doing so.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
8 months ago

It is not often that I agree with the Conservatives, but Janet Finch Saunders is spot on with her assessment of GWE. It is an absolute gravy train, that is taking lots of money that would be much better spent on front-line services. My classroom is crumbling because “there isn’t any money”. I don’t have enough stationary, glues, scissors and new books because “there isn’t any money.” The tables and chairs are falling apart because, you guessed it, “there isn’t any money.” The windows are still single pane glass which means heat is lost because “there isn’t any money” –… Read more »

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
8 months ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

Why all the dislikes for my comment? Would somebody care to justify all the hundreds of thousands of pounds being poured into this quango (including for their offices on Parc Eirias, Colwyn Bay and the high pay for members / ‘advisers’) while there is “no money” for urgent needs on the front line?

Last edited 8 months ago by Mr Williams
Richard
Richard
8 months ago

JFS’s view on everthing is restricted by Llandudnos’ “ Great and Little Orms”’.

A local Tory wagg once told me at a local goverment conference she would need a map to both leave the safe banks of the Afon Conwy let alone find Cardiff.. !

The high proponderance of private schools for the Hotel
and leisure folk in Llandudno and District. ( as she sees Conwy County Borough ) have made her ideal as the partys Spokesperson on Education….a role she is fully suited to ….

Gareth
Gareth
8 months ago

If, and that’s a big if, she is concerned about school budgets, she should be lobbying her London masters, who control the purse strings of our schools, indirectly, and who have managed a drop of 4% in spending in 2022/23.
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&opi=89978449&url=https://www.unison.org.uk/news/2023/05/cuts-since-2010-have-cost-pupils-5000-each-in-lost-education/%23:~:text%3DBetween%25202010%252F11%2520and%25202022,year%252013%2520in%25202022%252F23.&ved=2ahUKEwjRsI6fvbSAAxW5TUEAHcNfCIIQFnoECBAQBQ&usg=AOvVaw1Gz4Ng2Tes71e3GEyFJPm1

George Thomas
George Thomas
8 months ago

Education is so incredibly important to I do want to know why cuts are being made to the budget – the reasoning behind the decision rather than just “austerity” which of course is true but doesn’t fully explain the difficult decisions being made.

But JFS is so simple in her thinking it’s insulting – it’s only trying to get local parents angry and vote Tory even if there isn’t sufficient considered thinking regarding the issue.

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