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Cabinet fails to confirm number of job loses after school budget cuts

CONWY’S leadership has not said how many teaching and teaching assistant jobs will be lost if the council cut school budgets by 5.5% tomorrow (Thursday).

The cuts remain on the table despite over 1,000 parents across the county signing an e-petition against the move which will see Conwy cut school budgets by 10.5% in two years.

Conwy schools will then be in charge of their own funds once they’ve been allocated.

This means it is likely non-statutory educational services will be cut by headteachers.

Consequently, lead member for education Cllr Julie Fallon has repeatedly warned school cuts will impact on the most vulnerable children, those with additional educational, emotional, and safeguarding needs.

Leader Cllr Charlie McCoubrey blames a Welsh Government funding formula for the cuts.

The formula is used to calculate the amount Conwy receives as part of the annual local government settlement, and the authority received the joint lowest increase in funds in Wales.

Both Cllr McCoubrey and Cllr Fallon were asked several key questions by the Local Democracy Reporting Service ahead of the important decision tomorrow.

These include what the council plans to do to protect those most vulnerable pupils and how many teaching jobs will be lost.

Cllr Fallon did respond, but did not specifically address how vulnerable children would be protected.

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“As I said in cabinet last week, the decisions we’re having to take are not decisions any of us would choose to take,” she said.

“We want all our children to set off on the right path in life.

“We’ve channelled the extra funding we have received into schools and social care to support the most vulnerable in the county.

“I want Welsh Government and UK Government to listen because where we are now is going to have an impact going forward.

“If they don’t find additional funding for local government, the consequences of these cuts are going to be seen for years to come.”

The council will set the budget at a meeting at Bodlondeb tomorrow when councillors rubberstamp a 9.67% council tax increase.

Aberconwy’s Conservative MS Janet Finch-Saunders slammed the council’s education cuts.

“That all schools have written to Conwy County Borough Council objecting to further budget cuts proves that enough is enough,” she said.

“I applaud parents for supporting our schools by signing an e-petition calling on Conwy to shelve plans to cut school budgets by 5.5%.

“As the headteachers of Conwy have stated themselves, the financial situation in centres of education is now critical, and there can be no doubt that further cuts to budgets will have a significant impact on what they can provide for pupils.”

She added: “Welsh Labour, Plaid Cymru, and independent are making a political decision to cut funding for local schools again this year.

“They should urgently reconsider. At a time where we are facing yet another 10% council tax increase, there is no excuse for underfunding schools.”