Have your say on education cuts in RCT
The Council are currently consulting on their latest round of budget cuts. These include cuts to the music service in schools and of course the cuts to nursery education are back on the cards.
It is important that as many people as possible air their views on the proposals. The consultation is available online here or a paper copy can be requested by phoning 01443 425014.
The decision to cut nursery education to part time taken at the beginning of this year was overturned in May when a judge found the decision was taken unlawfully. RCT Labour Cabinet and the Director of Education are determined to push this through, however.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillor Mike Powell says
"They have been here before, carried out a consultation exercise at some considerable expense and know the answer that will I am sure once again come from parents, staff, governors and my Welsh Liberal Democrat colleagues and myself.
"The shame is that they have been here before but have failed to learn any lessons.
"This report is clinical, adding in all the bits of law that should have been in here last time. What is hardly mentioned is the key word - education. Instead there is a cynical insertion of a few paragraphs to meet what the Officers have interpreted as the requirements of the Judge to make it lawful. "
RCT Welsh Liberal Democrats have been fighting against these cuts from the start. Campaign Manager Karen Roberts says that nothing has fundamentally changed since this was initially proposed and it appears that Officers have merely indulged in a tick box exercise to try and ensure that there is enough flesh on the bones of the new report to satisfy the requirements of the legal system.
"The report refers to a 'detailed assessment' from the Education Director of what he considers is a sufficient amount of nursery education that 'would ensure the Council continues to meet its statutory obligations as to the provision of sufficient nursery education for RCT. Yet the reasoning put forward appears to be far from that. Apart from stating that the Welsh Government has not even looked at the issue in fifteen years whilst the UK Government has and made better minimum provision there appears little reasoning behind his assessment.
"There is a high incidence of children in need of social services in RCT with a rising number of children needing to be taken into care and put on the child protection register.
"It is our belief that cutting the hours of nursery education will mean that more children will be left in need of these services. More will be left in a situation where they do not have a hot, nutritious meal and we think it very likely that a significant number of parents will not take up the offer of a part time place as they will not see it worthwhile taking their children along for a few hours. Certainly many of those who currently rely on home to school transport will think twice.
This means that many issues which are currently picked up by school staff will go un-noticed and children will not get the help they need."
The consultation is available online here on the link or a paper copy can be requested by phoning 01443 425014.