South East Wales

Nursery cuts are again considered in Rhondda Cynon Taf

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Media captionThe council was forced to abandon a plan to change school entry ages in 2013 after a judicial review.

Cutting full-time education for three-year-olds in Rhondda Cynon Taf is again being considered by the council.

Officials tweeted on Friday they would "reluctantly" consult on the issue.

It comes after the council said it faced a 3.7% cut in funding from the Welsh government next year - from £367.8m to £354.4m.

Council leader Andrew Morgan said if it cut nursery services to 15 hours a week, it would still be providing more than the statutory obligation.

Jo Caddy, part of a group campaigning against education cuts in Rhondda Cynon Taf, said: "Education, whether it's statutory or not, should not be touched.

'It's grim'

"Education for the under-fives is very important and to cut these costs now, however much it will help the council balance its budget, we're going to pay for it in the long run because children are growing up without the education that they deserve."

Mr Morgan said: "It's grim, there's no other word for it. To sit in a meeting where you've got... members of staff you know are going to be losing jobs over this.

"Services are going to be cut that will have an effect on the community, undoubtedly."

The council was forced to abandon a plan to change school entry ages in 2013 after a judicial review.

But according to the latest advice from officers, the move would be legal if changes were made to the consultation process.

Mr Morgan acknowledged that, in an already deprived area, this proposed cut in hours would adversely affect many families of the 3,500 toddlers who currently benefit from full-time nursery places.

The council is also consulting on removing its subsidy for music tuition and has agreed to reduce street cleaning, start charging for the use of sports pitches and has cut its funding for Ponty's Big Weekend.

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