HEADTEACHERS across the area have made the unprecedented move of banding together to attack the Welsh Government over severe funding cuts.

In a Friday meeting at Ysgol Y Deri, Penarth, head teachers from 10 schools said huge savings demanded of them threaten to put the health of pupils and staff at risk.

Most funding for U16s schools is allocated by local authorities, in this case the Vale of Glamorgan Council. Their funding is received in turn from the Welsh Government, who decide how much each authority receives.

The heads claim funding cuts have led to teachers at some sites cleaning toilets, instead of hiring dedicated staff for the job.

Chris Britten, the headteacher of Ysgol Y Deri, said: “We need to make one million this year in savings between us. Next year looks set to be even worse.

“Our staff rates are being stretched - we’ve reduced our number of learner support assistants year on year - and we are considering the option of implementing a four-and-a-half day week.

“We are already renting out facilities. Our teachers are taking on other roles like cleaning the toilets instead of hiring dedicated staff.

“We’re paying for our own teaching materials. Now we’re worried about having to make cutbacks in pupil and staff care - further cuts may be putting the health of pupils and ourselves at risk.”

The meeting was attended by Penarth headteachers Sian Lewis, of Fairfield Primary, Steve Rees, of Evenlode Primary, Gareth Rein, of St Joseph’s Primary, Sam Daniels, of Victoria Primary, Sue Sibert, of Cogan Primary, and Andrew Gilbert, of Albert Road Primary, as well as Dinas Powys heads Genevieve Hallett, of St Andrew’s Primary, and Julie Thompson of Dinas Powys Primary, and Mark Ellis of Llandough Primary.

Mr Ellis added: “Our problem is with the way funding is broken down between different local authorities. It is not consistent enough.

“As a consequence, there’s a difference in funding of more than £500 per pupil between us and some areas of Wales.

“It’s not fair that a child in our schools are receiving less than a child up the road.

Mr Rees, of Evenlode said: “We also have the added burden of new initiatives - a new curriculum, new professional standards training, Welsh language teaching... these are all adding to the stress of an already stretched budget.

“Our standards are high but they’re under threat.

“The needs of children are also growing more complex and we have to support them.”

Mr Britten added: “Parents have already been incredibly supportive of us so far.

“But at this rate, we may have to look to them for funding for any extras like school sports, or trips, and we don’t want to make those demands of parents.

“We have a very good local authority - we’d like to make that clear. If they hadn’t put more funding in for us off their own back we would be in a very bad way.

“But at the end of it all, any money we earn or save is disappearing into our deficits, not our reserves.”

Cllr John Thomas, leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, said: “We have some of the best schools and most able and enthusiastic teaching and support staff in Wales working here in the Vale, but their work is undermined by a flawed funding system.

“The level of funding each local authority receives is determined by a formula designed by Welsh Government. While it may have once been effective, this formula has not been reviewed for 18 years and relies on data gathered in the 1991 census.

“It simply beggars belief that the funding of possibly the most important area of our work is determined by data that is almost 30 years old.

“I have raised concerns about this directly with Welsh Government on numerous occasions.

"The responses I have received have given me absolutely no confidence in the methodology used to distribute education funding across Wales.

"Perhaps more worryingly, they have also shown a complete unwillingness to reconsider their approach or to address any of the clear flaws that have been raised.

“It is because of this refusal to even consider alternatives that last year I felt there was no option but to write to parents of the pupils whose education the council is responsible for to share my feelings. The fact is their education is being held back by the use of an outdated and flawed Welsh Government formula.”

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “School funding is the responsibility of local authorities.

“However, none of us should forget our starting point – the UK Government’s sustained austerity agenda has led to substantial cuts to Wales’ overall budget. In spite of this, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has explicitly said that school funding per pupil has fallen faster in England than in Wales.

“We recognise that to continue to raise standards, our schools and teachers need additional support.

“That is why the Welsh Government recently announced the single biggest investment for teachers since devolution – a £24m package of professional learning to support the new curriculum, giving schools the time and resources they need to plan ahead.

"It is important to note that Welsh Government has presented local authorities, including Vale of Glamorgan with proposals to update the 1991 census related element of the current funding formula, however this proposal was not pursued.”