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‘Be angry’ unions urge parents

Created on 06/12/2018 @ 13:47
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By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

Parents are being urged to be angry about the dire state of school finances in Powys and campaign for more funding.

The call comes from teaching unions in the county and follows a successful campaign spearheaded by Anti-Poverty Champion and non-aligned councillor Joy Jones (Newtown East), to have a traditional Christmas dinner put back on school menu’s last month.

The Unions believe the Christmas dinner fiasco is just one small issue.

But Learning and Welsh Language portfolio holder, Cllr Myfanwy Alexander (Banwy), believes that a new funding formula and better financial advice for schools will turn the situation around.

The letter signed by Deirdre Hanson, secretary Powys NEU, Angela Butler, executive NASUWT, Dilwyn Roberts-Young, general secretary UCAC, says: “Well done to all who protested over the poor efforts Powys council had made over school Christmas dinners. 

“Pizza and nuggets have never been a substitute for a traditional dinner. Over five thousand complaints bought a swift change of attitude.

“As teachers, we would take the opportunity to point out that the lack of a Christmas dinner is just one result of inadequate funding. Education faces year-round cuts, year-round shortages.

“In June 2018, it was reported that by the end of the 2020/21 financial year, a vast majority of Powys Schools will be in the red. 

Several Secondary Schools will run huge deficits.

“But we can’t entirely blame Powys. In October, the council is facing a decrease in funding from the Welsh Government.

“Anger should be just as strong that our schools get such a small slice of the pie when it comes to funding.

“Parents were right to raise their voices over an inadequate dinner, but their voices must be raised, their voices must be just as loud, in support of increased funding for schools.”

“A dinner is just for Christmas, but an Education is for life!”

Cllr Alexander has responded to the letter: “Powys faces a very difficult budget settlement but we are committed to increasing the overall funds available to schools in next year’s budget by £1 million.

“In addition, we are completing a review of the schools’ funding formula which will be fairer and more transparent, allowing schools to know where they stand financially.

“Some of our schools seem to manage their money better than others so we are committed to ensuring that all governing bodies and headteachers have access to the advice they need to make the best possible decisions for their school in these challenging times.”

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