A RHYL school has scrutinised "everything they offer" to combat a £1million shortfall in funding over the next three years.

Claire Armitstead, headteacher at Rhyl High School, along with staff and governors, have come up with a battleplan to keep moving forward but said they " we will not let this lie"; headteachers of all Denbighshire secondary schools published a letter in March expressing the “impossible decision” faced after extreme financial cuts. 

In order to survive, the school has been examined areas such as cleaning and maintenance, exam invigilation, external college courses, replacing temporary staff, requests for less hours and holidays and ALN (Additional Learning Needs) provision.

Mrs Armitstead said: "We have scrutinised and focused on everything we offer, and as a result have managed to protect all permanent teaching roles, our behaviour and wellbeing teams, and almost all permanent non-teaching positions.

“We have had to look at areas like cleaning and maintenance, exam invigilation, external college courses, replacing temporary staff, requests for less hours and holidays, ALN (Additional Learning Needs) provision, and other areas where we will feel the strain but be able to continue without it impacting heavily on the day-to-day education and statutory care we provide.

“No stone has been left unturned but make no mistake this will have a negative effect on our pupils, how can it not? Especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, those struggling with mainstream education who are vulnerable and need our support.”

Rhyl High School is oversubscribed annually.


Mrs Armitstead says the decision to slash education budgets will have a major impact on the health and wellbeing of learners and their families during what’s already a period of economic despond UK-wide.

She said: "We are doing more than ever with less money at a critical time for families across the country.”

Cash-strapped Denbighshire County Council agreed this year to cut school budgets across the board by three per cent while raising council tax by 9.34 per cent.

The school featured on weekly news show BBC Wales Live in October 2023. 

A school has introduced a foodbank and expanded wellbeing rooms to help support pupils with mental health difficulties.

The measures, which are fully funded by the school, were highlighted on the programme. Pupil attendance figures were also discussed after nosediving in recent years.

Mrs Armitstead confirmed the foodbank will remain in place as well as the wellbeing rooms and added that the school has "prioritised the services our children need."

But the school leader is urging parents and carers to lobby politicians about the financial situation and "to make a stand".

“As schools we have been put in a terrible dilemma, having to reduce or remove services which were already stretched or at breaking point,” she said.

“Thankfully, we were in a strong position and have always operated sustainably with a long-term approach, but this still stings and will for a long time to come.

“We have come up with a plan to keep moving forward but we will not let this lie, we can’t – the impact this will have on this, and future generations is immeasurable, and we refuse to back down.”