North Wales high school battles £1m shortfall and says no way 'can't have negative impact'

Rhyl High School -Credit:Daily Post Wales
Rhyl High School -Credit:Daily Post Wales

Rhyl High School has unveiled a bold strategy to combat a £1million shortfall in funding over the next three years. Headteacher Claire Armitstead, staff and governors have had to explore and identify ways to continue delivering high-quality education for all learners in the face of this “financial challenge”.

Rhyl High School is oversubscribed annually, and 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.

“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,” she said.

“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.

Rhyl High School headteacher Claire Armistead -Credit:Daily Post Wales
Rhyl High School headteacher Claire Armistead -Credit:Daily Post Wales

“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.”

Mrs Armitstead added: “We are doing more than ever with less money at a critical time for families across the country.”

The headteachers of all Denbighshire secondary schools released a letter in March expressing the “impossible decision” they’ve been faced with on which areas to cut and explained how “every single child will be affected”.

They urged parents and carers to lobby politicians and make a stand, though Mrs Armitstead believes the only solution is to face the crisis head-on.

“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 added.

“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.”