Evenlode Primary School Penarth

Parents of pupils attending Penarth’s popular Evenlode Primary School have been told that there are to be “compulsory redundancies” at the  school.

Evenlode is being hit-hard by cuts imposed by the former Labour administration in the Vale of Glamorgan Council following diktats from the Welsh Assembly Labour Government which has slashed school budgets across Wales.

Evenlode Primary School is one of Penarth’s top primary schools but is struggling to cope with Welsh Labour Government cuts

Evenlode’s chair of governors Ceri Griffiths had already warned parents that  “We have received a cut to an already stretched budget at a time when general costs are rising and to avoid a deficit, we now have to make substantial savings.” The only way to make these savings, is to look at staffing, which accounts for over 90% of the budget. We have cut all other expenditure to ‘the bone’ and we have allocated just £15,000 for teaching resources which equates to £33 per child.”

Mr Griffiths had told the parents that “There is no money whatsoever for staff training” and that although “teaching jobs are secure this year” – support staff are to be reduced , and school trips will be “severely curtailed” .

Now, in a new circular released to parents last week, he has confirmed to parents the true scale of the economies she is having to make at Evenlode.

Evenlode School, Penarth gets the thumbs-up from its pupils but is having to lose valuable support-staff because of Labour cuts.

A total of 8 support staff are to leave the school in July  – comprising 3  LSAs , 3 lunchtime supervisors and 2 other supervisors. Mr Griffiths says “Such actions obviously deal a severe blow to morale, but will also impact on how the school operates” – and sets out the following list of knock-on effects:-

  • Classroom Assistants will from September, oversee lunchtimes.
  • In addition to reduction in numbers,classroom assistants will spend less time supporting children in class and ‘targeted support’ for individual children and small groups will be reduced.
  • There will be less support for all teachers and it is very likely that ‘extra-curricular’ activities will also be reduced.
  • School trips and sporting fixtures will be reduced
  • To help ‘balance the books,’ insurance for teacher absence will be removed, saving nearly £20,000. This means there will be more onus on classroom assistants to cover short-term absences
  • The money which the school receives to staff Foundation Phase classes and provide training for staff has also been cut. This means that there will be no money again this year for staff training.
  •  The release of teachers to attend meetings and courses and to work with other schools will also be limited
  •  Money for teaching resources has been cut by 50%
  • Money for repairs/ maintenance of the school is reduced to £3,000
  • Money for school furniture is £1,000
  •  To help raise money, the Governors have agreed to second Evenlode’s deputy headteacher to work 3 days-a-week on outside training duties .

Mr Griffiths says “We must stress that the school will do its very best to maintain standards and provision and other schools in the cluster and across the Vale of Glamorgan are in similar predicaments. However, due to Evenlode being traditionally the lowest funded school in the Vale, we are being particularly badly hit.”


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  1. Evenlode Parents – you that are able and many are very able – step up to the plate and change the way the PTA operates – it’s a hard pill to swallow maybe for some, but the school has many children from privileged homes and families. So step in and cover sporting fixtures, step in and organise and take the kids and find the money for all outside trips all the extra corricular activities, work to be more creative in your fund raising activities as it’s the school anniversary coming next year with many past students. I was one of the first to walk through the doors when it opened and have in a tiny way tried to add value to the experience of evenlode that I had and loved over the last year . I found some that sat on the pta frankly shockingly archaic, arrogant and full of their own jeep driving importance – why they need large 4 x 4 jeeps in evenlode avenue I don’t know 🤷‍♀️ we all have a choice so change your thinking (one or two of the teaching staff could do with a shake up into a new paradigm of approach I felt on observation ) and new actions and results will follow. The head teacher can’t do it alone that’s for sure. He’s great. The kids are great . Are you?

    • What we need is a PR person who can step up to the plate and save our beloved Evenlode School. A PR guru who is not afraid to comment on every article on PDN no matter what the subject. A PR expert who has at their finger tips a lexicon of useful phrases and can communicate in a coherent manner. We need a PR person who previous activities show they are above board and can answers questions truthfully.
      In short we need a PR spokesperson for Penarth!

      Does anyone know of such a person? For the life of me I can’t think of any.

  2. Ann Other says:

    The school will do better by re- focusing its money on what really matters and it is the job of the managers to do exactly that, as it would be in any business. There is no research evidence, for instance, that suggests teaching assistants are of any value in terms of pupil outcomes.

    • JE says:

      What a truly ignorant and ill-informed remark!

      “Learning support assistants work closely with all teachers and make valuable contributions to pupils’ learning.” -Estyn inspection report on Evenlode 2015

      “Why do teaching assistants have a negative impact on pupil progress?
      Indeed, other findings from the DISS project show that it is the organisational factors governing teaching assistants’ employment and deployment – and over which they have little or no control – that explain the impact findings. In other words, it is the decisions made by school leaders and teachers about teaching assistants, not by teaching assistants, that best explain the counterintuitive effect.” – National College of School Leadership.

      You will find that schools judged to be Excellent in Estyn and Ofsted inspections deploy their LSAs efficiently and effectively and are able to provide substantial data to evidence the valuable impact that trained and experience support staff have on pupil attainment.

      • 249ers says:

        Well said! A good LSA is worth their weight in gold allowing the teacher they support to focus on teaching and learning in the classroom.
        Maybe those of us with an hour or two to spare in the week should think of volunteering our help at one of our local schools. They could a reading buddy or just offer their general support in the classroom. First hand experience in the modern classroom is a real eye opener

      • Ann Other says:

        Check the research, not The HMI.

      • JE says:

        I would suggest that Ann Other uses a recent study (such as the Education Endowment Foundation or ) as a basis for commenting rather than dated research.

        ” The latest research, however, shows that when TAs are used in a focused way – to deliver structured, high-quality support to small groups or individual children – pupils make an additional two to four months’ progress.”

        Not insignificant when you factor in that LSAs/ TAs are frequently used to support the children with the greatest challenges.

  3. AK says:

    Penarthworldblog, you are confusing the PTA and the Governing Body; two totally different organisations with different responsibilities.

  4. PenarthParent says:

    The Evenlode PTA has been one of the highest earning school charities in Wales for 10 years. With 300 families in catchment, 150 of whom contribute £7 per month direct debit to fund tablets which the school wouldn’t otherwise have, the school constantly relies on the goodwill and generosity of parents – hardly fair to call on us to step up to the plate we are already filling. The PTA funds play and sports equipment, science shows, reading books,, drama, IT, furniture and more. It has paid for all outside play equipment at the school, the school pond, planning application fees for the hall and basic items like waterproofs and aprons. Children contribute by bringing their own writing materials to school and selling items like snacks and smoothies to raise funds. You’d be hard pressed to find a more diverse range of fundraising activities at another school.
    Parents also already pay voluntarily in full for all trips, the issue for the school is staff cover as trips cannot run using parents alone. Trips take staff away from the classroom and those classes have to be covered.
    The school pays £150 a day for supply teachers when teachers are absent due to non illness related events like meetings, overseas trips etc. I think most parents and children feel that there are a lot of supply teachers in use at Evenlode. Other local schools use their LSAs to cover short term absences without issues and save the £150 to boot. Of course if you don’t have Lsa’s you don’t have that option.
    As an alumni if you would like to set up and organise a reunion fundraiser I’m sure the school would be most grateful.
    Times are tough for all schools, especially so for those in the Vale. I note that Evenlode has the only deputy head without a class responsibility in Penarth, it also has a school administration team of 3, more than any other primary. Your opinion of the head (and parents choice of transport) is just one and not shared by all. The school has lost trgular rental income from a local successful gym club and a private out of school club operator. In business losing two of your largest income sources would be seen as poor management..
    The management team and governors need to find new income streams, and look at the costs of staff who perform admin / management functions. Victoria primary only has a marginally greater income than Evenlode. It’s deputy head teaches year 6 full time and much less whining about budget cuts takes place.
    I’m sure there are vacancies, or soon to be vacancies on the governing body for interested members of the community who would like to contribute.

    • JE says:

      In order to utilise HLTAs ( who know the pupils well, are aware of the standard of work to be achieved for individual pupils and the teaching methods employed in that setting) in place of expensive supply cover ( often very inexperienced and often not the best teachers out there!) , schools need to invest in continuing professional development and training of their most experienced LSAs and to be prepared to employ appropriate staff at that higher level. HLTAs are independently assessed against the same professional standards as teachers but sadly in some schools, up-skilling and training for LSAs is the first thing to go. Most Head Teachers would agree that skilled support staff provide excellent value for money.

  5. The Dairy Farmer says:

    Gosh,Nicky first saving the Pavillion, then then the Yacht Club and RNLI, now Evenlode
    School, I quiver to imagine what next. Still no answer about the money you raised for the new unit you never built at Velindre, through extravaganzas at Dorchester and St. Davids Hotel, only £1100
    We managed really well in Penarth while you were saving Dubai, didn’t think about us then!

  6. Ex pupil Evenlode says:

    Teaching assistants! Get rid of them all.
    This just sums up the UK, productivity at an all time low.
    Assistants to help the assistants to help the stand-in teachers, while the real teachers are learning how to be better teachers. And we wonder where the money has gone?
    Like some comedy sketch show.

    Half of classes are either autistic, have ADHD, special needs or are just plain stupid.

    • Evie Leyshon says:

      Thanks for the heads up ex pupil. I assume you were in the latter category

  7. snoggerdog says:

    when i attended first victoria then cogan academia my chums? & i soon noticed our teachers had a full range of assistants e.g. a cane ,a dap & a rule, one teacher who lived in grove place & was for some inexplicable reason permanently ANGRY,used to come up from behind & flick your ear hard,i think he enjoyed more than we did,but he never showed it ! i think he would have made a better dungeon master than head master.

  8. E Vole says:

    I cannot believe finding is linked to those receiving state paid school meals. Work hard to build a good life for you and your family and your children are punished in the funding that their school receives and the education they get. Nice Labour seems fair.

  9. CelticMan says:

    A mostly blizzare set of responses to this article. I despair!

    • Peter Church says:

      I always find that when people are confronted by argument and opinions outside their normal circles and sets of beliefs they seem to just regard them as blizzare. (sic.)

  10. Reluctant Tory says:

    Why would maintenance, books, wages, utilities be any cheaper in a nice area? 48th out of 48 in terms of funding: flawed socialist logic.

    By the way I drive a 4×4 which also has no logical impact on the cost of my child’s state education versus any other child in the U.K.

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