13 February 2015
Wales’ largest union for qualified teachers have criticised the decision to cut nursery education provision in Rhondda Cynon Taff. NUT Cymru say the local authority’s decision to withdraw the right of children under the age of four to access full-time nursery places will hit schools standards and puts numerous jobs at risk across the county.
NUT Wales Secretary, David Evans, said:
“We are of course very aware of the funding pressures RCT council face, but clearly this is a very short sighted approach. This decision really does threaten education standards.
“The cuts to nursery funding will result in job losses for teachers and support staff. Many schools will find it increasingly difficult to maintain their existing staffing provisions which will lead to larger class sizes; overburdened teachers and pupils failing to get the support that they have become accustomed to in the past.
“There is also a very real concern that the funding situation will become ever more confusing and ultimately children in the Rhondda Cynon Taff area will have nursery classes run without a teacher. This is not acceptable. We need clarity on funding and a direct commitment from RCT council that there will be teacher led education for all children from the moment they start school.”
NUT Division Secretary for RCT, Clare Jones, added:
“Make no mistake, this is more than just a nursery care issue it is fundamentally an education concern. This decision will inevitably result in standards of education in Rhondda Cynon Taff being hit. Schools will be starting from a lower base than they would have previously, making it extremely difficult to maintain the existing levels of attainment let alone improving on them. That is not even to mention the devastating impact with will have on school staffing provisions.
“When you add on the fact this leaves parents across the area high and dry in terms of their ability to remain in full-time employment, without access to full-time nursery education, there is no justification for this decision.”