MP slams plan to axe Anglesey teaching assistants


Tomos Hughes

ANGLESEY MP Albert Owen has criticised council plans to axe 26 learning support assisstants (LSAs) from secondary schools.

In the summer, the Anglesey Council announced that 26 jobs would be cut over the academic year, with some leaving their posts as early as October half term.

Eight will be cut from Ysgol Uwchradd Bodedern, seven from Ysgol Uwchradd Caergybi, six from Ysgol Gyfun Llangefni, and five from Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones, Amlwch, while Ysgol David Hughes in Menai Bridge was set to gain 3.5 further assistants.

The cuts come as part of the council’s bid to curb overspending of the Special Educational Needs/Integration budget.

Public sector trade union, Unison, has been working with the council to try and minimise the number of redundancies.

Albert Owen MP said:”It is essential that it does that it does not cut classroom staff, it would be short term and detrimental to the department’s long term strategy.

“One to ones are a success story here on Ynys Mon and to cut this vital service would be a disaster for those who need integration in our schools.

“I will support the Union on this important issue to retain the 26 posts that are under threat.”

Geoff Edkins, of Unison Wales, added: “Slash and burn tactics simply won’t work. It’s a matter of having a look at what we do and how we do it.

“I feel very pessimistic and unusually I’m not pointing the finger at the council. The funding they receive is insufficient.

“Apart from the LSAs losing their jobs, it’s the children who are the real losers.”
An Anglesey Council spokesperson said: “The SEN/Integration budget is a budget that has been overspending for a number of years. It is therefore imperative that the matter is addressed.”

“Addressing these budgeting issues will, unfortunately, mean a reduction in the number of learning support assistants at all of our secondary schools apart from Ysgol David Hughes, Menai Bridge.”

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