The new Ysgol-y-Deri is part of the £49,000,000 Penarth Learning Centre

The new Ysgol-y-Deri is part of the £49,000,000 Penarth Learning Centre

Unconfirmed reports have emerged that large pay-offs  – allegedly made by the Vale of Glamorgan Council to staff leaving Penarth’s brand-new Ysgol-y-Deri special school – may have been partially behind the difficulties the Wales Auditor has had in signing-off the council’s 2014/15 accounts.

Ysgol y Deri is part of the new  £49,000,000 “Penarth Learning Community” on Sully Road and was established from the merger of three former local schools – Maes Dyfan, Ysgol Erw’r Delyn and Ashgrove School, Penarth – all of which dealt with pupils with special needs. There are 240 pupils on the roll.

The school governors’ report says that the total staff salary bill for the 230 staff at the school in the year 2014/15 amounted to  £6,100,008.

Councillors have been told that, across the whole of the Vale of Glamorgan, a total of 30 school staff had been made redundant  – but the school with the most redundancies was the new Ysgol-y-Deri , where – since April this year – no fewer than 12 staff have departed.

In answer to a question from Cllr Chris Franks (Plaid Dinas Powys) , Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour St Augustines) – ‘cabinet’ member for education  said there has been “a decrease in demand for residential placements at Ysgol Y Deri  which has led to 12 redundancies in the current financial year”. Cllr Burnett  said these  redundancies were “within the residential unit and not the school itself” , and would not affect staffing ratios in the classroom.

Ysgol-y-Deri  has also has a particularly high incidence of staff sickness with – at any one time –  up to 20% of the 230 staff at the school claiming “sickies”. (See PDN http://tinyurl.com/h2dtvst)

A PDN source says there are claims that some staff had been paid substantial sums of money to leave without making a fuss about what is alleged to be a “bullying environment” at the school. Earlier this year the school governors – who had already come under criticism from the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales – were quoted as  saying work would be  “starting immediately” to establish “a new and more effective way of working”.

In November 2015 John Golding – acting on behalf of the Wales Auditor General –  had written to the Vale of Glamorgan Council saying that “I have not yet issued a certificate confirming that the audit of the accounts has been completed. This is due to a number of issues that have been brought to our attention by electors”.



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  1. Ann Other says:

    Posts, not people, are made redundant. If the people have been replaced there has been no redundancy and therefore there can be no legitimate redundancy payments. What actually is the situation here? I’m sure the Vale will explain to the electors (and to the auditors, of course).

    • newsnet says:

      You are absolutely correct. However the phrase used by Cllr Lis Burnett in explaining the position to a meeting of the full Vale of Glamorgan Council was:- “In order to agree balanced budgets, schools across the Vale have made 30 staff redundant in the current financial year”.
      At the outset of her comments to the council, Cllr Burnett (Labour St Augustines), who is the ‘cabinet’ member for regeneration and education, had said “When setting the 2016/2017 budget the Council honoured the Welsh Government’s minimum funding commitment for schools of 1.8% and allocated an additional £1.655m to the schools budget.
      Whilst a significant amount, it did not completely cover the schools budgeted cost pressures..”

      • Ann Other says:

        Thanks for this comment. I’m sure the auditors will find out whether the people/posts were dealt with legitimately. If the people haven’t been replaced, the posts should also have disappeared from the staffing structure so that they cannot be filled again at some future date. The casual use of the word ‘people’ by the councillor may just be lazy speech but is a bit worrying and does need the kind of questioning the Penarth Daily News is applying to it. After all, the councillors are spending other people’s money!

  2. Suburban miss says:

    £49,000,000 yet they still find space or think about Early Years provision? So instead the Vale – with their massive surplus – changed the whole dynamic of a local Primary School clawing back a measly £25k from the primary school in the process. Question the whole strategic thinking of the Vale of Glamorgan with regards to education provision – especially in Penarth – because there is none.

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