Posted: Wed 7th Feb 2024

Teachers’ Union Accuses Newport City Council of Years of Underfunding Schools

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Feb 7th, 2024

A teachers’ union has accused Newport City Council of “years of underfunding” for schools, leading to oversubscribed class sizes and staff picking up other subjects to “absorb cutbacks”.
NASUWT said school buildings are “falling into disrepair” and the budgeted spending per pupil was lower in Newport than anywhere else in Wales last year.
The union has urged the council to “do what is right” and “put children first”.
A spokesperson for the council said it had made “considerable” investment in schools and had increased its budget despite national austerity measures.
But NASUWT said the spending on schools suggested children in Newport are “valued less than they are elsewhere in Wales”.
Welsh Government figures also showed per-pupil spending in the city was the second-lowest of any Welsh council two years ago.
“When challenged about its lack of funding of schools, Newport points to complexities with the budget,” the union said. “Unfortunately, this is just hiding behind the fact that education is not a priority for Newport City Council.”
NASUWT made its comments as part of its consultation response to the proposed budget position statement on Newport’s schools.
It said “the impact of years of underfunding… is being felt by teachers and learners across the city”.
This includes class sizes being “too high” and “pupil-teacher ratios that are detrimental to progress”.
The union also alleged “unqualified teachers” were having to cover in some subjects “to save money and absorb staffing cutbacks”.
In response to the NASUWT allegations, a spokeswoman for Newport City Council said the authority “puts a high priority on ensuring pupils receive a high-quality education”. 
“Indicators have shown there is not always a direct correlation between funding and academic achievement,” she added. 
“Against a backdrop of unprecedented financial challenge, following years of austerity, there are no cuts proposed to school budgets next year.”
Funding for schools increased last year but met challenges such as pupil number rises, “pay-related pressures” and increasing costs – but despite these factors there was still investment in school infrastructure, the council spokeswoman said.
This “long-term” investment includes £52m already spent on the first stage of the city’s 21st Century Schools programme, and the second stage – which includes the new key stage two building for St Andrew’s Primary School – currently stands at £84.2m.
“This is in recognition that a modern, safe and attractive learning environment plays a major role in a positive school experience,” the council spokeswoman said. 
“Although schools are responsible for managing their own budgets, Newport City Council fully appreciates the challenges and has put in a robust and extensive support system to help all schools. 
“Support for schools remains responsive to the issues that our valued headteachers are raising.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



Spotted something? Got a story? Email News@News.Wales



More from Newport Council

Disused Newport leisure centre deemed safe by council officials

Newport Council

Council Urged to Provide More Support for Newport City Centre, Says Opposition Councillor

Newport Council

Plans to install statue honouring Newport suffragette Lady Rhondda move closer

Newport Council

Calls for More Public Toilets in Newport City Centre, as Councillor Argues Current Facilities are Outdated

Newport Council

Newport Council Leader Dismisses Rumours of Four-Weekly Bin Collections

Newport Council

Newport Recycling Collections Causing Headache for Terraced Houses Residents

Newport Council

Latest from News.Wales

Public Consultation Launched for ‘No-Gas’ Housing Development Near Maesteg

Bridgend Council

Opponents of Proposed “Super-Estate” in Wrexham Call for Public Meeting

Wrexham Council

Disused Newport leisure centre deemed safe by council officials

Newport Council

Plans Revealed for Fourth Phase of Rhondda Fach Active Travel Route

Rhondda Council

Fear of Diluted Local Voice in Vale of Glamorgan Community Council Changes

Vale of Glamorgan Council

Smallest School in Rhondda Cynon Taf to Close Despite Strong Opposition

Rhondda Council