A HEADTEACHER at a primary school has told parents that year groups will be merged and teachers’ jobs will go because of "austerity measures".

Gwynne Vaughan, who is in charge of Ysgol Sant Elfod in Abergele, wrote to them outlining plans which will come into force in September – providing Welsh Government allows all children to return to school.

The letter outlines how funding for the 300-pupil primary has been cut by £132,000 in cash terms since 2016, before factoring in inflation – a drop of almost 12 per cent.

Mr Vaughan said the school has taken the decision to merge years three and four into five classes and do the same for years five and six – reducing the number of classes from 12 to 10.

It means teaching positions will also be reduced from 12 to 10.

Mr Vaughan said reductions in “core funding” caused the cash shortfall.

Conwy county council imposed budget cuts of 2.18 per cent on schools in this financial year.

Mr Vaughan said: “That’s the result of austerity across the board but we are looking at it very positively.”

In his letter to parents, Mr Vaughan said: “Austerity measures has seen our budget cut significantly over recent years.

“In 2016-17, our budget allocation was £1,102,000 and for 2020-21 the budget allocation is £969,803.

“This is a budget cut of £132,000 despite the number of pupils on roll being very similar.

“Taking inflation into account – an average of 2.8 per cent per year – the cut in budget is significantly higher as our costs have increased over the period.

“We have had to reduce our costs accordingly.”

Mr Vaughan told parents that school governors hadn’t been able to thrash out alternative efficiency savings as in other years, so settled on merging classes.

He added: “We are committed to making this new structure work for the benefit of our pupils and are determined to continue to provide the best education possible.

“Many successful schools across the region have similar class structures.”

One parent, who asked not to be named, said: “We as parents completely understand budget cuts and austerity have left the school with some really hard decisions and we understand how hard teachers work.

“But we are also struggling to see how this can be implemented without detriment to learning in some way.

“It hasn’t been made clear how the curriculum and lessons will be adapted to support children who up until now have been taught in single-aged year groups."

“What’s going to happen when it comes to year six exams?

“Surely this new arrangement can’t be without detriment to some.”

Mr Vaughan also wrote to parents to apologise after some of them found out about the changes on social media.

He said: “The information should have been provided directly from school and it is unfortunate that a number of you were informed via comments on social media. For this, I apologise.”

He said the decision to merge classes had "been a difficult one" and "all available options" had been considered before deciding on the mixed groups.

The news comes a week after Eirias High School’s headteacher went before Conwy council’s cabinet begging for £200,000 to break even and insure against any further drops in funding.

The cabinet approved a loan of £138,484 but said Sarah Sutton must face a scrutiny committee in six months time, to justify why they should give her the rest of the cash.

Conwy county council has been approached for comment on the cuts at Ysgol Sant Elfod.