HEADTEACHERS in the area have today sent letters to the families of pupils notifying them that they are considering closing on Friday afternoons as a cost cutting measure.

A letter titled 'funding crisis' sent by Victoria Primary headteacher Sam Daniels, on behalf of Penarth Cluster Heads, has been seen by the Penarth Times and says: "This would enable us to ensure that teachers have their planning, preparation and assessment time (PPA) but without the need to cover them.

"Your children’s education and life chances are being compromised by the Welsh Government’s failure to fund schools properly."

It comes after headteachers from 10 schools took the unprecedented step of banding together to attack the Welsh Government over a £1,000,000 funding shortfall this year, as we exclusively revealed today.

Penarth Times:

(From left) 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, Chris Britten of Ysgol Y Deri, Genevieve Hallett of St Andrew’s Primary

The letter - which calls on parents to "pressure politicians" - adds: "To be clear we are 1 million pounds short of what we will need just to stand still.

"We are looking at redundancies and we have headteachers cleaning halls and toilets on the weekend for lettings to make money."

The health and safety of pupils and staff is also said to be at risk.

Most funding for U16s schools is allocated by local authorities, in this case the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

But their funding is received in turn from the Welsh Government, who decide how much each authority receives.

Steve Rees, the headteacher of Evenlode primary, today called the situation facing schools "the worst I’ve ever seen.

“I really don’t know how it’s going to be recovered," he added.

Penarth Times:

Steve Rees

“Without the PTA (parent, teacher, association) we couldn’t exist. I don’t think people appreciate how dire the situation is. I’ve been teaching 35 years. I’ve never seen it this bad. It’s desperate,” he said.

And St Andrew’s Major RC Primary head Genevieve Hallett said: “I don’t know how we can cut back. I have no LSAs. There is nothing more to cut back. We can’t do anything to our buildings.”

While Sully primary deputy head teacher, Andrea Waddington said: “It’s reached a tipping point. It’s year on year. There’s no ending. There’s only so much you can do without the budget. It’s reached desperate measures.”

Vale council leader, Cllr John Thomas, previously told the Penarth Times: “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.

“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."

In response the Welsh Government has said: "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.”