PARENTS have spoken of their shock at receiving letters from head teachers warning funding cuts could lead to redundancies, closures and endangered health.

As the Penarth Times exclusively revealed last week, head teachers took the unprecedented step of banding together to attack the Welsh Government over a £1 million funding shortfall.

A letter titled ‘funding crisis’ sent by Victoria Primary head teacher Sam Daniels, on behalf of Penarth Cluster Heads, says: “Your children’s education and life chances are being compromised by the Welsh Government’s failure to fund schools.”

A petition on website 38Degrees calling for equal funding for pupils in Wales already has 675 signatures at time of writing.

Amy Caine’s eldest child studies at Albert Road Primary School. She said: “I’m appalled, disgusted. I moved to Penarth from Canton for the schools, which has left me even more angry. People do come to Penarth for the excellent schooling.

“It almost felt apocalyptic receiving that letter – it’s 2019 and we’re having to deal with this in our schools. The heads want us as parents to do something, but a million pound deficit? How do we make a dent in that?

“I’d be happy to pay more council tax, but it should start with equal funding across the board for all local authorities.

“It also felt so secretive – there was no consultation from the public on where our funds would be allocated. There’s consultations for every park decision, but the first we hear about school crises is when a letter tells us they’re on the absolute brink.”

Tracey Sevinc, who has children attending Llandough Primary, sent her own letter to the headmaster, Mr Ellis.

She said: “This is very concerning and perhaps in the short term we could look at parent financial support. In Turkey, for example, each parent gave an amount each year to cover paper costs for the pupils books. They also provided pens, pencils, and so on. I understand this is just a little dip in the vast ocean of money required.

“I would also prefer to know who to be targeting with my anger. How are the Welsh Government reviewing the formula? What input has the Vale provided the government in order to revise the formula?”

One parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I think it was a brilliant letter – it galvanised a lot of parents who were unaware of how dire the situation was.

“From my perspective, I feel it’s wrong our children’s futures are being defined by a postcode lottery. The Welsh Government say they want a fairer Wales – we need an equal playing field for our pupils for a start.”

While most funding is allocated by the Vale council, the council’s funding comes from the Welsh Government, who in turn receive funds from Westminster.

The Welsh Government has 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 led to substantial cuts to Wales’ overall budget. In spite of this, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has explicitly said school funding per pupil has fallen faster in England than in Wales.

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

“That is why the Welsh Government recently announced the biggest investment for teachers since devolution – a £24m package to support the new curriculum, giving schools time and resources needed 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.”