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Labour Cabinet vote to cut nursery education - again

Yesterday RCT Labour Cabinet once again took the decision to cut nursery provision for three year olds from the full time provision that has long existed in the County to 15 hours a week.

The proposal has not changed at all since last year when they took the same decision only to have it declared unlawful and overturned by a High Court Judge following a judicial review. The legal battle cost the taxpayer a considerable amount of money.

Undeterred the Labour Councillors pressed on, determined to follow through this course of action despite huge public opposition. They claimed to have taken all the views on board, but still ignored them.

Speaking at the Cabinet meeting Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillor Mike Powell said that the new report put to Cabinet offered nothing new simply satisfied a legal tick box requirement.

"Just because the legal responsibilities may have been met it doesn't mean the social and moral ones have. The reduced provision may be above the statutory minimum but that does not make it fair.

"The Director has said that quality is more important than quality but in that case why not address the quality issue first."

The new provision will take effect from 1st September. Children age three who are already in full time education at that time will remain full time. There will be no home to school transport provided for part time pupils.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Campaign Manager Karen Roberts said

"This decision came as no surprise, they had already made up their minds. If it goes through this time it will have far reaching effects on families in RCT. Many may not take up the offer of a part time place as it will be too difficult to get their child there and back for just a morning.

"The Council are currently considering reorganisation of schools in the Rhondda and Tonyrefail which will involve closing some primary schools and relocating them on Secondary sites. Many primary children will have much further to walk, and some parents may decide it is too difficult to have to take one child for a few hours and then have to return to collect another."

"It really is difficult to see why anyone would vote Labour in this area. Only the Cabinet had a vote on this but not a single Labour Councillor, AM or MP objected.""