Head teachers across Wales have warned of the ‘hidden crisis’ that is facing Welsh schools due to a lack of funding. Budgets are thought to be ‘so tight’ in some Welsh schools that redundancies may be the only option in the next financial year.
In an interview with BBC Wales, Neil Foden, head teacher of Ysgol Friars in Bangor, warned that a lot of parents don’t realise how serious the situation is, Mr Foden said: “There are lots of schools that don’t have a financial cushion to protect against the cuts, the only way to deal with the problem then is to dismiss staff.
“Obviously when that happens it becomes very visible and parents see it. Because schools have managed to avoid that up until now, I don’t think a lot of parents have appreciated just how serious the financial situation is.
“When there’s a crisis in the health service, it’s very, very visible and often high profile.
“Pictures of ambulances queuing up outside A&E departments are something people have become sadly familiar with, but there’s a quiet crisis in education.”
Mr Foden told the BBC that primary schools had started looking at using unqualified staff to cover for planning, preparation and assessment time (PPA) – about 10% of the timetable.
“I’m sure if parents realised that for the equivalent of one month for every academic year their children were effectively child-minded, not taught there would be a real crisis, but they don’t know.
“People don’t see that the teacher in front of the class hasn’t had any experience of that subject maybe for 10 or 15 years – and that was when they did A-levels in that subject.
“So it’s a hidden crisis and I think it’s only at a point when we see a real dip in standards, as measured by examination results or parents start to realise that their children are increasingly in classes of 32, 33, 34 or 35, that it will come apparent.”