Parents win Rhondda Cynon Taf nursery cuts legal fight

The planned nursery cuts were part of the council's bid to save £56m

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Parents campaigning against cuts to nursery provision in Rhondda Cynon Taf have won the latest stage of their battle at the High Court in London.

Parents Against the Cuts to Education in RCT sought a judicial review after a council decision to end full-time nursery education for younger children.

It decided to offer part-time schooling for three-year olds and full-time from the age of four as part of budget cuts.

The council said officers would consider the detail of the judgement.

It has the right to appeal against the ruling.

Start Quote

It will ensure my son is able to continue the great educational progress he is already making”

End Quote Paula Webb Campaigner

It is understood the basis of the judgement is that the council breached its statutory duties in the way it reached its decision.

The plan to raise the age for full-time education to four, in line with many other Welsh councils, caused an outcry from parents.

Jo Caddy, one of the campaigners who travelled to London to hear the judgment, said: "It's hard to describe, it's absolutely awesome, a lot of hard work and effort has gone into this.

"We wanted to be here to hear this. It's exceptionally important.

"There's nothing more important than children's education. We all believe strongly the council acted inappropriately."

'Steamroller'

Another campaigner, Paula Webb, said she was delighted by the decision.

"It will ensure my son is able to continue the great educational progress he is already making," she said.

"He is more than ready for full-time education and anything else would have undermined his learning and development.

"And it gives me hope of undertaking vocational training so that I can return to work."

Plaid Cymru leader and South Wales Central AM Leanne Wood said it was "a great day for people power".

Campaigners outside the Royal Courts of Justice Jo Caddy and campaigners celebrate outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London

"The parents against the cuts group was brave and took a big financial risk by standing up to the Labour-controlled local authority that wanted to steamroller through some damaging education cuts without listening to local people."

Liberal Democrat South Wales Central AM Eluned Parrott said: "Education is a passport to a better life for our young people, and we cannot jeopardise the future of our children at such a young age.

In a statement, Rhondda Cynon Taf council said: "Unfortunately the council has no alternative other than to make significant reductions to its service provision because of the severity of the UK government's austerity measures.

"Officers will now consider the detail of this judgement and will report to members in due time."

Education union UCAC says the ruling should mean any talks about staff redundancies should be put on hold.

A spokesperson said: "Since there is now uncertainty about the original decision, we are calling on the council to suspend the redundancy process until the situation becomes clearer."

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