Attitudes towards school attendance must change, warns Rhondda Cynon Taf's
Director of education Chris Bradshaw says too many pupils in Rhondda Cynon
Taf are still missing at least five weeks' worth of classes a year
Attitudes towards school attendance need to change if the council is to continue
its upward trend in pupil numbers, Rhondda Cynon Taf's Director of Education
While lesson attendance is improving in most schools in Rhondda Cynon Taf,
Director of Education Chris Bradshaw says too many pupils are missing at least
five weeks' worth of classes a year.
Last year, Rhondda Cynon Taff was ranked the worst in Wales for pupil presence,
but under the new figures, has risen to 16th out of 22 local authorities -
a 1.3% improvement.
A startling 26 parents were prosecuted for their children's non-attendance
during the first three half terms of 2012 and 2013.
And 64 pupils were returned to school or their homes after being spotted by
truancy patrols, and 75 families were approached by designated attendance
A report by Mr Bradshaw signalled a mostly positive trend in pupil numbers,
with 25 primary schools having an attendance rate of over 94% for the year.
An impressive 14 of the 19 secondary schools have improved their attendance
from this time last year.
But the director says only five secondary schools are currently hitting their
attendance targets. The full report will be put before Rhondda Cynon Taf councillors
at the education and lifelong learning scrutiny committee on April 11.
Mr Bradshaw, in his closing statement, concluded: "Cabinet and the education
scrutiny committee have made improving school attendance a priority. It is
pleasing to see the continued overall progress made by the primary and secondary
schools in the first three terms of 2012/13 in improving attendance.
"If this continued focus on attendance is maintained it should impact
on educational standards in the future.
"Working with the schools, parents, and the wider community we need to
change attitudes to school to raise aspirations and enriching school life.
Improving attendance is not an easy thing to achieve, but it is something
collectively we need to work together to achieve."
RCT council say they have launched several initiatives to keep kids in classrooms,
including The Lion Challenge.
Treorchy Comprehensive School, as well as all primary schools in the Treorchy
cluster, were awarded certificates and 20% off meal vouchers for their families
at The Lion should they achieve 100% attendance. They were also entered into
a draw with a chance for one pupil in the cluster to win a Kindle.
Last term, 202 pupils in Treorchy Comprehensive School achieved 100% and 307
pupils from the throughout the primary schools.
Coun Eudine Hanagan said: "We want to provide children in the county
borough with an educational experience that enables them to make the most
of the opportunities available to them in adulthood. Tackling truancy and
pupil absence is a key part of this.
"The impact of a good education on a community is profound.
"There is a strong connection between illiteracy and social exclusion
for young people and adults.
"By working with schools, governing bodies and head teachers we will
ensure resources available are used to the very best effect to deliver an
excellent learning experience in Rhondda Cynon Taf."
The local authority introduced an attendance and well-being "mascot"
last year, called Super Attender, to inspire children to stay in school.
Parents can be summoned to court and face fines of up to £1,000 for
allowing their children to miss lessons.
Parents fight to save Rhondda primary school
dubbed 'the heart of the community'
Ynyswen Infants School could close in September under plans from Rhondda Cynon
Taf council, but more than 800 people have signed a petition calling on the
authority to think again
Hundreds of parents are fighting to save a school dubbed "the heart of
Ynyswen Infants School in Rhondda could close in September next year under
a proposal made by Rhondda Cynon Taf council, with pupils transferring to
three other schools.
The authority has said that Ynyswen is too small to survive, with "significant"
surplus places at 39%, well above the 25% limit suggested by the Wales Audit
The council has the most surplus school places of all the 22 Welsh local authorities
and has been warned by Education Minister Leighton Andrews that immediate
action must be taken.
Formal objections to the closure plan are now being invited by RCT and must
be lodged by the beginning of May.
More than 800 people have already signed a petition calling on the authority
to reconsider the move, citing the importance of small schools in the survival
of Welsh traditions and "as loving centres of academic excellence for
Many parents also claim Ynyswen is a centre of excellence for the teaching
of children with learning difficulties and fear this expertise will be lost
if the school is closed. They claim children with special needs feel more
relaxed in Ynyswen because it is a small school.
Mum Catherine Williams, of Ninian Street, Treorchy, whose children have attended
Ynyswen, is among those fighting the plan.
She said: "The school is at the heart of the community, a community that
needs a focal point. It has just celebrated its centenary and is an important
part of local history.
"Ynyswen has provided its pupils with excellent education - both my children
left the school with excellent results, as well as good values and confidence.
"Ynyswen allows its pupils to grow in a safe and happy environment.
"I do not feel that pupils would get the same from a larger, all-through
school, where they are mixing with pupils who are older and more street wise."
If the plan receives final approval, the mainstream pupils from Ynyswen will
transfer to Penyrenglyn (corr) Primary School about a mile away in Treherbert,
the autistic spectrum disorders SEN class will transfer to Ysgol yr Eos (corr)
Primary School in Penygraig and the communication disorders class to Williamstown
(corr) Primary School in September 2014.
But some parents of pupils at Penyrenglyn school have also objected, claiming
the school does not have the capacity to accept the Ynyswen pupils and that
education standards will suffer as a result.
Some are also worried the surrounding roads will be swamped with extra traffic,
making them dangerous.
But RCT council has said Penyrenglyn can easily take in the extra pupils and
that any additional traffic is unlikely to exceed the limits set when the
school was built a decade ago.
The council has also dismissed concerns about school capacity if four housing
plots identified in the local development plan are actually developed.
It said no planning applications have been submitted and, given the current
economic climate, it is difficult to see this happening.
But the council's assurances have failed to allay the community's fears.
In a letter to the authority, Coun Cennard (corr) Davies claimed any money
saved by the closure of Ynyswen school will be a false economy "when
the resulting social cost is so high".
He said it would be yet another blow to an already deprived area.
"People look to their civic leaders to show confidence in the future
of their community," said Coun Davies, the member for Treorchy, Ynyswen
"Closing a school sends out all the wrong messages and encourages people
to move to more affluent communities, a trend that is all too common in the
Heads of the Valleys area.
Over £26M Invested in Highways since
Cllr Anne Crimmings, Cllr Sharon Rees and Cllr Andrew Morgan inspecting the
£300k Highways works in Llwydcoed
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council is tackling pot holes and winter road damage head
on by announcing a further £7,102M funding for its Highways Investment
This latest announcement is on top of the staggering £19m that has been
invested since 2011 which will see the total investment rise to over £26M
- making this scheme one of the largest in Wales and further showing the Council's
commitment to investing in the infrastructure within the County Borough, despite
extensive budget cuts from the UK Government.
Over 140 miles of highway have already been resurfaced thanks to the multi-million-pound
scheme and over 100 streets/roads are now set to benefit during 2013/14.
Councillor Andrew Morgan, Cabinet Member for Frontline Services, said:
"The Council has recognised the concerns expressed by the public at the
damage caused from the harsh winters we have experienced and it is for that
very reason we are once again investing in our roads during 2013/14 and beyond.
"Our significant investment of £19m since 2011 has already made
a substantial difference to residents and the announcement that a further
£7.102M has been allocated demonstrates the Council's on-going commitment
to investing in the infrastructure within the County Borough.
"The highway improvements have taken place right across Rhondda Cynon
Taf with every ward of the County Borough benefiting.
"The total investment since 2011 will now rise to over £26M and
see even more streets and roads benefit from the successful scheme. Despite
the savage cuts that the Council is facing thanks to the UK Government - the
Council realises the importance of a robust highways infrastructure and the
fact that this investment not only improves our highway network but also supports
local jobs and growth. It is for these reasons that the Council will continue
to invest where it matters despite a future of cuts ahead. "
"I would like to thank the residents of the streets that have been targeted
for their support, as this has led to the speedy completion of the roads highlighted
"The highways workforce are heavily dependant on support of residents
and with further targeted works due to start shortly that may cause some minor
disruptions, I would urge residents to continue to back us whilst these essential
works are carried out as it is for their longer term benefit.
The 140miles that have already been covered by the scheme is the equivalent
of travelling the whole of Wales from North to South from Wrexham to Pontyclun!
A whopping 80,000 pot holes have also been filled and patched under the scheme
along with 50 footways being resurfaced and replaced.
Over 400 streets and roads have benefited from the investment ensuring that
residents and motorists can see a marked improvement as they travel around
the County Borough.
As the scheme drives forward the Council is urging residents to continue to
support the scheme by taking heed of the temporary traffic signs e.g. no road
markings, reduced speed limits and diversions whilst these essential works
are carried out as it is for their safety and longer term benefit.
Pool fund boost for community
DIRECTORS of a company set up to battle against the closure of a Rhondda swimming
pool have handed out £6,500 to community groups following a unsuccessful
Treherbert Swimming Pool Ltd, which took the decision to dissolve itself last
month, will give grants to several good causes out of money raised during
Despite three-and-a-half years trying to source suitable funding, the company
was resigned to defeat when Rhondda Cynon Taf Council's cabinet agreed to
bulldoze the dilapidated site last October.
Despite the disappointing loss, which was dubbed "the biggest act of
vandalism in RCT Council's history", directors decided to divvy out their
remaining cash to other community groups.
Treherbert Boys and Girls Club, Treherbert mini rugby and teenage swimmer
Chloe Tutton were some of the recipients of the £6,500 money pot.
Chairman of Treherbert Swimming Pool Ltd Janet Todd Jones said: "Following
legal advice and a public meeting, the decision was made by the directors
to distribute the company's funds in the form of small grants to local schools,
organisations and an individual competitive swimmer.
"The grants specifically enable them to enhance the health and wellbeing
of their pupils, members and individual support for training.
"The health and wellbeing of the community was one of the fundamental
principles in setting up the company and the directors are therefore delighted
that they are, in some small way, able to facilitate this."
A business plan was also drawn up by the company, which asked the council
to keep the pool open for the next three years until a community fund was
set up through the Pen Y Cymoedd wind farm project.
But cabinet members said the building had become unsafe and would cost between
£360,000 and £1m to restore to full working order.
In contrast, demolition and clearance costs were much lower, at around £58,000.
Ysgol Gyfun Cymer Rhondda pupil Chloe Tutton, from Ystrad and born in Pontypridd,
is hoping to compete at next summer's Commonwealth Games in Scotland.
Mrs Jones added that the directors wish to express their sincere thanks to
everyone, from friends near and far and especially the people of local communities,
and to the staff of CwmNi, for all the help and support in the campaign.
"We are sad that it was not successful - but are pleased that the funds
have, at least, been able to be ploughed back into these same local communities,"
Callum hits all the right notes with Connie
ONLY Boys Aloud's Callum Howells has added to his growing reputation as a
future West End star by winning a singing contest.
The 13-year-old beat hundreds of hopefuls in the Star Of Stage competition
to land a £500 cash prize and a top scholarship with musical theatre
sensation Connie Fisher.
He received a standing ovation at the finals, held at the Coal Exchange on
March 22, with a unique rendition of The Song That Goes Like This from Monty
His performance was described as "perfect" by Cardiff vocal expert
and contest judge Louise Ryan.
The Treorchy Comprehensive pupil has already crammed more entertainment into
his life than most after performing with OBA on Britain's Got Talent in front
of millions of viewers.
He then bagged a role in a week-long CBBC TV series called Show Me What You're
Made Of about a handful of young people who made a fact-finding - and somewhat
life-changing - journey to Asia.
Callum's father, Keith, said a lot of credit needs to go to Rhondda Stage
School, which gave him the drive to audition for the closely-fought competition.
He said: "I don't know where he gets his confidence. He doesn't seem
to get fazed by big performances.
"We booked two tables and crammed them full of people to support Callum
at the Coal Exchange, and we couldn't believe it when he won.
"When you hear judges praising him just confirms our belief in his ability,
which is fantastic."
Tonyrefail resident Callum, who has appeared in leading roles with theatre
company Selsig, qualified through two preliminary rounds by singing a number
from Guys And Dolls.
After winning the 13 to 24-year-old category, judge Connie Fisher announced
him as the overall champion of all three age groups.
Callum now hopes to fulfil his dream of becoming a famous face in musical
Friends gather for school reunion
GRAMMAR school memories were recalled when former pupils met up for a reunion
at the Rhondda Heritage Hotel.
Around 30 former classmates attended the second and last reunion of the 1959
intake of the then newly-established Porth Technical Grammar School.
Some travelled from as far as Rheims, Cheshire, Birmingham and Bristol. Several
had been pupils together at Cymmer Juniors, Porth.
Former pupil Pat Benson, who arranged the reunion, said: "Terry Williams,
who taught us maths, opened the proceedings with an emotional speech about
the success of the technical stream of the school, adding his regrets that
it had not been open to girls. Many of those present had been involved in
education, engineering, carpentry, design and one religious minister was present.
"It was decided that the reunions would finish on a high note, and none
is expected to follow.
"Many thanks to all who attended and making the reunion very special."
Traders' anger over increase in car parking
CAR park charges are to go up in Rhondda Cynon Taf, sparking anger and disbelief
The council is putting up charges by 5% in a bid to plug a £10m funding
The move, which comes in on April 1, has been met with dismay by Cynon Valley
Gerald Williams, who owns the Aberdare Party Supplies shop in the town centre,
described the car parking fees as "crippling" and accused the authority
of driving shoppers away.
He said: "When I set up shop in the town six years ago, my turnover was
£7,000 a week.
"That figure is now down to £1,000 because of the lack of shoppers
who are steering clear of the town because of the car parking problems. Can't
the authority understand that by hiking the car park charges they are forcing
businesses to shut up shop and then they will lose the money they get from
Another angry businesswoman is 29-year-old Leanne Lewis, the owner of a Mountain
Ash beauty salon, who claims shoppers are avoiding the area because of car
The owner of the Lipstick and Lashes beauty salon in Oxford Street said staff
and customers are being punished by the ever-increasing car parking charges.
She said: "I have three staff and if they have to use the town's short
stay car park, it will now cost them more than £12 a day.
"Why would customers pay hiked up car parking fees to pop into the town
for a quick shopping visit? The better alternative for them is to drive to
a superstore where parking is free."
John Drayton, the owner of the pet shop in Aberdare Market, said the council
are "killing the town. Not only have they put up the car parking charges,
but the lack of communication by the authority to market traders is also very
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council said it "remains committed to protecting its
Memorial to Rhonddas miners unveiled
A NEW memorial dedicated to valley miners who lost their lives has finally
been unveiled following years of campaigning.
The memorial was unveiled in Dinas where in 1812 the first pit was opened.
From a tiny population of 975 in 1811, the Rhondda boomed to 153,000 by 1911
as a direct result of coal mining, with 53 working pits creating thousands
of jobs, homes and towns.
Dinas Pit memorial was unveiled by Rhondda Cynon Taf mayor Doug Williams
watched by former miners, schoolchildren and dignitaries.
Standing 10ft tall, the memorial commemorates the 6,000 men, women and children
who died down Rhonddas 62 mines.
A list of opening and closing dates are inscribed in marble on the memorial
which includes an authentic dram used in the Dinas pit in the 1800s.
Speaking at a service held in Dinas Mission Church before the unveiling,
Dinas Pit Memorial committee member Roy Hamer, a former mines rescue worker,
said he was delighted to see the unveiling after two years of campaigning.
He said: It is just incredible to think that this venture began when
I gave my first ever talk in the mission two years ago that I would be standing
here today at the unveiling of the memorial.
This memorial will be the first time a visual landmark has been placed
in the birthplace of the Rhondda Valleys.
I am extremely pleased, along with many other people, that the campaign
has succeeded and there is now a fitting memorial to the Rhondda miners who
have died in tragic circumstances over the years. However, we must not forget
that this memorial is not just for those who died through mining disasters
but also those who lost their lives through industrial illnesses because of
A congregation gathered at Dinas Mission Church at noon for a brief service,
led by Father Christopher Lewis Jenkins, and a talk by Mr Hamer.
During the service children from CwmClydach primary school sang while the
procession afterwards was led by the band of the Rhondda Sea Cadets.
Mr Hamer said: This is a long overdue and very fitting memorial. To
make the occasion even more poignant is that the memorial is located on the
exact spot where Welsh coal owner and Member of Parliament Walter Coffin made
his initial probe to discover if it was viable to sink a pit there.
The dram which is placed on the memorial is also very significant,
because it was recovered when the foundations were being built for the Dinas
The dram was used when the colliery was in operation and could well
have been the dram to bring coal out of a Rhondda colliery for the first time.
Teachers at Rhonddas Porth County Community
School fear job losses
TEACHERS could be facing redundancy due to budget cuts, Wales largest
teaching union has warned.
The NASUWT told the Rhondda Leader that staff at Porth County Community School
have been warned jobs may be lost.
The announcement by the headteacher is a sign of the dire financial
situation faced by the school and others across the area, claims the unions
Wales organiser Rex Phillips.
These are testing times, he said.
He added the union had not received formal notice of potential redundancies
and that if the situation arises, it will be hoping it can be addressed through
However, if compulsory redundancy is threatened, the NASUWT will have
no hesitation in giving members at the school the option of taking strike
action against the job losses, said Mr Phillips.
The union understands that headteacher Anita Francis has raised the prospect
of redundancies at the school, although the number of potential job losses
will not be known until after the school, on Cemetery Road, Porth receives
its budget from Rhondda Cynon Taf council this week.
The Rhondda Leader contacted the school and was told Mrs Francis does not
want to make a statement.
A concerned parent, who did not wish to be named, said: Its clear
that morale is poor among staff.
They believe money is being spent in the wrong places. Its teachers
on the coal face that make a difference to pupils, not managers further up
Its all about staff to pupil ratios the more that is diluted,
there is bound to be a knock-on effect.
Jobs have already been lost in recent years at the school, which has more
than 1,000 pupils, as its funding has been reduced due to falling numbers.
A Rhondda Cynon Taf council spokesman confirmed the school has a budget deficit
and that plans are in place to restore a balanced budget.
Mr Phillips said other schools across Rhondda Cynon Taf and the rest of Wales
could be faced with similar tough decisions over staffing levels.
He said schools are facing financial difficulty because of what he claimed
is historic and continuing underfunding by the Welsh Government
and a funding formula that sees the money given to schools by local authorities
fall if pupil numbers go down.
If they funded the schools on the needs of the curriculum rather than
pupil numbers, we would have a different situation, he said.
But the Welsh Government has denied underfunding education, saying it is
putting more money into schools.
A Rhondda Cynon Taf council spokesman said: The council is committed
to ensuring that schools remain a key priority when setting their overall
budgets for the local authority despite any savage settlement that Rhondda
Cynon Taf receives from the UK Government.
The council continues to ensure that schools are fully protected from
any tough decisions that may have to be made for 2013/14.
It will then be for schools governing bodies to manage the service
implications in the same way that cabinet has to do with the rest of the council
budget, but in the knowledge that they have received funding at a level well
above the Welsh Governments 2013/2014 local government settlement. This
school operates a licensed deficit in accordance with the councils scheme
for the local management of schools. Clear plans are in place to restore the
school to a balanced budget and the council is working with the governing
body of the school to implement those plans. In relation to the staffing issues
these would be a matter for the individual school and its governing body.
A Welsh Government spokesman said: Staffing decisions are a matter
for schools and their governing bodies. Questions of funding of individual
schools in RCT should be directed to RCT council.
The Welsh Government is putting more money into schools. Since 2010
we have been funding schools at a level of at least 1% over and above the
block grant given to us by Westminster.
As a direct result of pressure from the Education Minister Leighton
Andrews, local authorities in Wales have agreed to increase the amount of
money spent by schools themselves by delegating 80% of their budgets to schools
by September 2012 and 85% by September 2014. On top of this, Porth County
has benefited from the Welsh Governments new pupil deprivation grant
this year and will do so again next.
However, funding doesnt tell you how an education system is performing.
We know that the councils that spend the most on schools are not necessarily
the ones with the best schools.
Moves to revive the Bond Street of
A RUN-DOWN village high street which was once known as the Bond Street
of the Rhondda could be in line for a regeneration programme.
Rhondda AM Leighton Andrews and Huw Lewis AM, Welsh Government Minister for
Housing, Regeneration and Heritage, visited Pentre to see for themselves the
boarded-up buildings and derelict properties along Llewellyn Street, Pentre.
They met with councillor Paul Cannon to discuss the number of empty properties
on the street and the potential for regenerating the area.
Mr Andrews said: Pentre residents have told me of their frustration
at the derelict, boarded-up properties owned in the street.
I have asked the Regeneration Minister to look at what might be done
to deal with these issues.
Mr Lewis told me it was important for him to see these problems at
first hand as he develops a new regeneration policy.
Ward councillors Shelley Rees-Owen and Maureen Weaver said they welcomed
the visit by the minister who they also plan to meet on March 8.
Coun Rees-Owen said: There is an urgent need for an investment into
Llewellyn Street to transform it into the showpiece it once was.
Pentre has a wonderful church in St Peters, known locally as
the Cathedral of the Rhondda, but the beauty of that is marred because of
the way Llewellyn Street has become.
Councillor Weaver and myself were able to support the setting up of
a chamber of trade for the locality which will provide an extra benefit.
The former Kit Kat club and the Pentre Labour Club have been boarded
up for years and are just two of many eyesores.
Chamber of Trade secretary Melissa Warren, who owns the Blues Lemon shop
in Llewellyn Street, said: The main shopping area in Pentre was once
known as the Bond Street of the Rhondda and it is sad to see the state which
it has now become.
There are 27 businesses along Llewellyn Street and there is an urgent
need for a regeneration programme to be put in place.
Retired newsagent and long time street resident John Slader said that through
the years he had seen the best and the worst of Llewelyn Street.
He said: For many years the shopping area of Pentre was an attraction
but it has gone downhill.
Whether it will ever capture its former glory remains to be seen.
FERNDALE Community School has finished top of the class after their work
in PE received a glowing report. The school was also the first Comprehensive
School to achieve a Phase 5 Award for Healthy Schools in Wales.
Sport Wales and the Association for Physical Education (afPE) are championing
schools which recognise the importance of PE.
All schools can apply for ActiveMark Cymru and this year, Ferndale Community
School have sailed through.
ActiveMark Cymru endorses schools that are committed to developing high quality
physical education and school sport and for promoting the benefits of physical
Headteacher Heather Nicholas said: "I am overwhelmed with the excellent
practice in Ferndale and recognises the importance of young people having
positive early experiences of sport and physical activity.
This award recognises we are giving our children an excellent start."
Ferndale Community School have also achieved Healthy Schools Phase 5.
The school is the first comprehensive in Wales to achieve Phase 5 and are
in good stead to progress to the final stage of the Welsh network of healthy
schools scheme within two years. Praise must go to the efforts ofAlison Evans,
head of PE, Colleen Richards, head of PSE and C Jones, assistant headteacher
for coordinating the achievements.
Rhondda Cynon Taf council accused of betrayal
over planned cutbacks
RHONDDA Cynon Taf council has been accused of betraying peoples
trust over its plans for fortnightly bin collections and a council tax hike
in a bid to plug its finances.
Last week, the councils cabinet announced its revenue budget strategy
for 2013/14 outlining how it proposes to close a £9.6m funding deficit.
It said while it would protect schools and planned to make £4m in efficiency
savings, another £5.6m needed to be found in the forthcoming year.
The strategy report said it would make savings by:
Charging residents for bulky refuse collection
Making black bag and bin collections fortnightly
Reviewing street cleansing and grass cutting
Increasing all fees and charges by 5% above inflation
Making a reduction in events and marketing budgets
Meanwhile, it proposed to increase council tax by 3.95% 55p a week
for those in Band A for the year ending 2013/14 and £2.4m of
earmarked reserves would provide transitional funding.
The councils cabinet said it was committed to saving jobs and better
service delivery but said it had to reduce its cost base with a projected
deficit of £28m over three years if the budget was not reduced.
It added that the proposals would mean it would remain financially sound
retaining a minimum of £10m in general fund balances.
But in consultation, responses revealed some people were sceptical over changes.
Addressing the saving made on charging for bulky refuse, one said: People
will dump waste and not pay.
Another added: Dont you think that if the council start charging
for bulky refuse collection, then more people will fly tip?
Meanwhile, when the budget report was discussed among councillors last Wednesday
at Clydach Vale, leader of the Plaid Cymru group Pauline Jarman accused Labour
of reneging on promises in the groups first budget since election.
She said: Who did those sums for you, George Osborne?
You pledged to keep weekly black bag and bin collections no matter
how harsh the cuts from the ConDem government.
You were categoric in your pledge to keep the weekly refuse collection
and maintain a zero charge for bulky waste collections and to protect and
keep the frequency of grass cutting, street cleaning and other environmental
works. Every one of these pledges will be broken by this budget.
Coun Jarman added the council tax was higher than that of the election year.
The obvious differences are the pre-election council tax increase was
2.49% compared to this years 3.95%, she said.
In election year, the Band D increase was 54p weekly, this year its
Likewise, Band A increase in election year was 35p weekly this
year, it is 55p weekly.
Labour have 60 members as compared to 15 on the opposition benches
so you dont need our help to get this budget through.
But you will be judged. The electorate of RCT supported you in May
2012 based on your manifesto pledges and you have betrayed their trust.
Councillor Andrew Morgan, cabinet member for frontline services said: As
a result of the cuts from Whitehall, the council was faced with a £10m
budget gap this year and we therefore have had to take many tough and unpalatable
The constitution of the council provides Coun Jarman with the opportunity
to come forward with her own alternatives.
She has not bothered to take this opportunity and instead prefers to
criticise from the sidelines.
The options being considered by cabinet to tackle the reductions in
funding that we face, have been debated by the cabinet fully over the last
three months in a number of public meetings.
Coun Jarman has failed to attend any of these meetings, where she could
have contributed and potentially have informed the decisions we have made.
Coun Jarman seems to wish to take the easy opposition tactic of disagreeing
with everything proposed but being unwilling or unable to produce options
of her own.
£3.3m funding boost for schools
DESPITE the NASUWTs financial concerns, schools across Rhondda Cynon
Taf including Porth County Community School have benefited from
their share of a £3.3m funding boost.
The money, destined to help disadvantaged pupils, comes from the Welsh Governments
pupil deprivation grant.
The grant was introduced to help reduce the impact of poverty on educational
attainment, with 100% of the funding going directly to school budgets.
In the current year, each school has received £450 for each pupil aged
between five and 15 who is eligible for free school meals.
Saturday surgeries brought in after police
front desk closures
A NEW Saturday surgery for people to talk to police about their concerns
is up and running after front desk services in Ton Pentre and Aberdare
were both closed.
The surgery was announced by Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales
Alun Michael and Chief Constable Peter Vaughan on Monday.
They said it was a positive response to concerns raised by the
community about a lack of open access to police stations.
The surgeries will be held between 10am and noon every Saturday, with the
aim of allowing people to drop in to discuss incidents and receive advice.
They will be reviewed in three to six months to see how much they are used.
Details of the surgeries will be circulated in a newsletter delivered locally
by Community Support Officers.
Mr Michael said: I am pleased at the way this initiative has been brought
forward in order to improve the local service and address local concerns.
It is intended as a positive response to the concerns expressed to
us by local councillors and to in-depth discussions with the leader of the
council, Coun Anthony Christopher and the deputy leader, Coun Paul Cannon.
It comes after Coun Cannon, himself a former senior police officer and holder
of the Queens Police Medal for distinguished community service, last
month described the closures as a sad day for policing in Rhondda Cynon
He had reflected cross-party fears that Pontypridd was the only open-access
station available in the area.
But upon the announcement of the surgeries, Coun Cannon said he was pleased
some action had been taken to reassure the public.
Coun Cannon said: This new service answers some of the practical concerns
expressed by the public.
It demonstrates that the concerns expressed by other councillors and
me have been taken on board by the commissioner and will go some way towards
reassuring the public.
He added the council would work with police to develop Ton Pentre and Aberdare
into community safety hubs by centralising existing community
Mr Michael added that misinformation had contributed to peoples
He said: Because of misinformation from some quarters in recent weeks,
I have to repeat the facts the police stations in Aberdare and Ton
Pentre have not closed and are not going to close.
They remain the operational hub for local policing teams.
Mayor's Charity Golf Day
Location Aberdare Golf Club
Date(s) Friday 19th April 2013
For more information and to book contact 01443 424123
Times: 10am til 5pm
Following the success of the past few years, Mayor Cllr Doug Williams has
once again teamed up with Aberdare Golf Course to offer a day of golfing,
competition, fun - and charity fundraising.
The day will once again be in aid of the Mayor's Charity Appeal, which this
year supports, Cystic Fibrosis Trust,
Prostate Cymru and Cardiac Rick in the Young.
Format for the day:
· Pairs competitions best stableford score to count on each hole
· Refreshments at the half way house
· Two course meal following the round of golf
· Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd pairs
· Additional prizes for the longest drive and nearest pin
· Full handicap will apply (maximum shot allowance 21)
· Presentation 6.30pm
· Tee off times to be confirmed
The cost for the day is £80 per pair and includes all of the above.
Time To Dash For a part in Splash
Budding triathletes of all ages and abilities
are being urged to sing up to the 2013 rhondda cynon taff council splash and
The event will take place at the three local pools-
Tonyrefail leisure centre on April 21, Bronwydd pool on June 2 and Abercynon
pool on July 14.
The novice competition consists of a 50 metre swim and one lap run for ages
8 and under; 100m swim and a one lap run for 9 to ten and a 200m swim and
a two lap run for ages 12 to 14.
The club catagory consists of a 100m swim and a one lap run for ages eight
to 10; 200m swim and a two lap run for ages 11 to 12; a 400m swim and a three
lap run for ages 13 to 14; and a 400m swim and a three lap run for ages 15
Entry is £5 for all three events. For competitors wishing to enter one
or two events entry is £2 per event.
Cash boost for netball team
A VALLEYS netball team has been given a huge financial boost thanks to a community
The Co-operative supermarket, which has branches throughout RCT, has donated
£640 to the Glamorgan Valley Netball Association to pay for umpiring,
coaching and new equipment.
The group received the cash boost from The Co-operative's Community Fund,
a pot of money accumulated by customers opting to donate all or part of their
annual dividend to good causes in the area.
The money is distributed by The Co-operative's local area committees.
Jean Foster, from Glamorgan Valley Netball Association, said: "Funding
is becoming ever harder to secure, therefore we were delighted to hear that
we were successful in securing this grant from The Co-operative.
"The cash will make a huge difference to our group, and it means all
the more knowing that the money has been donated by local people."
Brian Rees, Chair of The Co-operative's South Wales Area Committee, said:
"Supporting local communities has been an inherent part of The Co-operative's
values and principles since the very beginning of the Co-operative Movement.
"We are particularly proud of the Community Fund, as it demonstrates
how the generosity of our members can make a real difference in their local
area, and now we have stores and branches in every postal area of the UK it
makes it all the more relevant."
Co-operative members receive a payment twice a year based on the points they
earn when they trade at any of the Grou
Aberdare Park National Road Races
Aberdare Park on Saturday 27th - Sunday 28th July 2013. For more information
please call Aled Lloyd on 07870 688835
Event Time: 9am til 6pm
After a successful 2012 event, which was the busiest weekend in 20 years,
motorcycle racing returns to Aberdare Park for 2013.
With over 50 races held over the two days and classes ranging from 50cc to
classics, supermoto to 600cc supersport the racing is vastly varied and draws
a good crowd for Wales's only road race meeting. With trade stalls, food outlets
and funfair, it really is a great family event.