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Staff at Whitchurch High School may lose jobs – warning

STAFF at the biggest secondary school in Wales could be made redundant due to funding cuts, parents have been told.

Joyce Slack, chair of governors at Whitchurch High School, sent a letter to parents on Friday saying there was an “abysmal financial settlement to the school”.

The foundation school directly employs its staff and controls its admission arrangements, but still receives its funding from Cardiff council.

Teaching and non-teaching staff are set to have a salary increase of 2%.

“This is to be applauded,” says Ms Slack, who adds that the school cannot afford this rise as well as other bills.

Ms Slack said the school faced a 10% budget cut, which could mean a significant loss to staff.

However, Cabinet Member for education, employment and skills, Sarah Merry tweeted: “The suggestion there has been a 10% cut in funding is totally wrong and I have no idea where they got that from. We increased spending on the same formula as the last few years and that the Conservatives used for their own budget.”

According to Ms Slack the 2,300-pupil school has more children enrolled than last year, but has received less money on comparable numbers.

Ms Slack said this would equate to a loss of about £50,000 based on funding from last year.

Whitchurch High School has one of the biggest sixth forms in the UK with about 450 A-level students.

But cuts by Welsh Government to post-16 funding means Cardiff council has seen a reduction of 5% to its allocation of the grant.

In Whitchurch High, Ms Slack says it means a cut of nearly £300,000.

A spokesman for Cardiff council said: “Officers have met with the school on this matter and will continue to meet with Whitchurch to work out a plan to manage these budget challenges.

“Welsh Government cuts to post-16 grant funding has seen Whitchurch lose money. However, in an age of austerity and cuts, Cardiff council is doing its utmost to protect key areas like schools and social services.

“It’s important to note, that while other service areas across the council are seeing cuts to budgets, our schools and social services budget is rising year on year as we look to protect these key services from the worst of the cuts.”

Gareth Daniel worked at Whitchurch High for 37 years before retiring as assistant headteacher in 2015.

“This is an appalling state of affairs. Whitchurch High is an excellent school, providing a rounded education for all the children who attend, whatever their background or ability,” he said.

“The breadth of the curriculum and the lives of dedicated, hard working teachers will be severely compromised by such cuts.

“It is truly a sad state of affairs that well into the 21st Century, in one of the richest countries in the world, we seem unable to fund the required standard of education for our young people.

“As a former teacher at Whitchurch High, I am still in contact with many past students, and I know they are thankful for the school in providing them with a sound education on which they have achieved further success.

“As stated in Joyce Slack’s letter, I would urge parents to write to Cardiff council to remedy this state of affairs. Let’s hope that common sense prevails.”

The letter:

The letter sent out by Whitchurch High School Chair of Governers Joyce Slack. Credit: Whitchurch High School

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