1. ITV Report

Schools struggling to meet recommended staffing levels for youngest pupils

Credit: ITV News

An ITV Wales investigation has found that some schools here are struggling to meet recommended staffing levels for the youngest pupils.

A Freedom of Information request revealed that many schools across Wales are struggling to meet the recommended ratio of 1 adult to every eight children, for pupils in nursery and reception.

Ratios levels for nursery and reception:

  • Merthyr Tydfil - 22% of schools made the ratio
  • Powys - 36% of schools made the ratio
  • Carmarthenshire - 60% of schools made the ratio
Headteacher Ryan Morgan said he is not always able to staff to the recommended ratios. Credit: ITV News

At Trelewis Primary School, near Merthyr Tydfil, the majority of their classes make that ratio, but the Headteacher said that wasn’t possible in reception due to budget cuts:

Unfortunately it means that not always are we able to staff to the ratios that are recommended.

However that's not saying that there are impacts on students standards.

We do try and make sure that the adults that we do have are high quality

– Ryan Morgan, Headteacher

The Foundation Phrase is the way in which our youngest pupils learn.

It enables them to build upon the foundations of reading, writing and mathematics through play.

Councils say it’s up to school to decide staffing levels, and Merthyr Tydfil Borough Council say there's an element of support for the Foundation Phase from the Education Improvement Grant.

Meanwhile the Welsh Government say that staffing levels are only part of the picture when it comes to delivering a high quality foundation phase, and that quality teaching is key.