CONCERNS continue to be voiced following letters sent to parents by headteachers about potential services being withdrawn amid "extreme financial cuts".

Denbighshire Council has agreed this year to cut school budgets across the board by three per cent. Council tax has been raised by 9.34 per cent.

Last month, parents and guardians, with children at schools across the county, were sent a letter signed by 'headteachers of Denbighshire' which stated that "every single child" will be affected by financial pressures.

It said: "We entered this profession to change and improve lives; we're in a situation where we know that cuts to provision will negatively impact our children's present and future. We don't just teach; we help, we rescue, we support, and we nurture- and so much of this is non-statutory, meaning this 'wider support' could be lost."

It went on to say "we will fight with everything we have to protect the services" but warned children could lose their pastoral care, well-being support, behaviour support, mental health support, learning support, access to enriching extra-curricular activities and opportunities.

Ex-Prestatyn councillor Paul Penlington, who is Plaid Cymru's Parliamentary Candidate for Clwyd East as well as a parent and teacher, received the letter from Ysgol Glan Clwyd in St Asaph.

He said: "It is truly sickening that our children will suffer as a result of government cuts, it is disgraceful that Denbighshire have prioritised school cuts whilst continuing to waste millions on unwanted vanity projects like the already failed Queen's Market in Rhyl over children's futures.

"As a parent and teacher, I know how far above and beyond schools go to support children and strive to give them the best chance to succeed.

"Our schools and children's support services have been on the frontline for cuts many times, this is the straw that will break the camel's back. Teachers care about our children and personally invest in them as much as parents do almost, it's quite clear our elected representatives do not - they know the cost of everything and the value of nothing."

Another parent, who received the letter from Ysgol Dinas Bran in Llangollen, shared their worries.

They said: "I am not surprised by the letter from school but I am shocked as to quite how severe the situation is.

"I think the biggest issue will be for any child who has additional learning needs or who needs additional support.

"Even before these cuts attempting to get help for a child with any kind of difference was a nightmare and like having a second job."

Gill German, Deputy Leader of Denbighshire County Council and Member for Education, Children and Families, said: “Denbighshire County Council has protected the most vulnerable in society as far as possible during these unprecedented challenging economic times. We have worked in partnership with our schools throughout the budget setting process and been open and transparent about the incredibly difficult challenges we face.

“In the letter sent to parents, Denbighshire headteachers acknowledge that the local authority has done everything within its power to protect school budgets from cuts, but that we are not in a financial position to do any more.

“The council is having to make exceptionally difficult decisions against the backdrop of 14 years of UK Government’s policies of austerity, rampant inflation driven by the disastrous UK mini-budget of September 2023 and another inadequate settlement for Wales in the Autumn Budget Statement which with inflation means an effective reduction in spending power for Welsh government of £1.4 billion.

“As such, all services throughout the council, including education, have had to identify savings and efficiencies for the coming financial year. In comparison to other services, schools have been asked to find the least savings. However we do accept that this is a difficult situation for schools and in partnership with Welsh Government will continue to do whatever we can to support them through these extremely challenging times.

“Schools, education, social care for adults and children and homelessness services combined account for 63 per cent of the Council’s budget. Despite an expected increase in funding of £6.7m (3.6 per cent) by Welsh Government, this still leaves a funding gap of £17.8m and the latest estimate is that delivering day to day services in 2024/25 will cost an additional £24.5m compared with 2023/24.

“This is not just a Denbighshire issue, or even a Wales issue: it is UK wide. Councils across the UK are having to set budgets that will see service cuts and increased council tax and charges to be able to deliver the balanced budget required by law, with an increasing number of councils in England unable to balance the books at all, meaning they have had to go into effective bankruptcy.

“There have been cross-party calls by MPs for UK Government to provide the funding that councils need to solve this unacceptable situation.”