Cardiff Council Update: 23 February 2024

Here is your Friday update, covering:

  • Cardiff Council's Budget proposals revealed as authority looks to bridge £30.3m gap
  • Coed Glas Primary School Pupils gear up for adventure during demolition site visit at Tŷ Glas
  • City Primary School Praised for ‘Calm and Happy Environment'


Cardiff Council's Budget proposals revealed as authority looks to bridge £30.3m gap

A budget which safeguards schools and education, supports social services, and protects the most vulnerable - has been revealed by Cardiff Council - as it faces up to a ‘public sector funding crisis' affecting local authorities across the UK.

Rising costs and demand for services like social care has left the council with ‘extremely difficult decisions to make' if it is to bridge a £30.3m gap in its budget.

Earlier in the year the council consulted citywide with residents who were asked for their views on several cost-saving proposals and money-generating ideas.

More than 9,000 people - a record amount - took part in the four-week consultation on the difficult choices ahead.

Now, following that consultation, the council is bringing forward proposals to safeguard key services while bridging the budget gap.

The proposals include setting any Council Tax rise at 6% - around £1.60 a week for a Band D household. This would be among the lowest council tax increases seen in Wales this year and will play a key part in maintaining some of the services residents asked to be protected or saved from cuts. These include:

Giving schools a 4.3% uplift of £12.8m a year to help deal with rising costs matching Welsh Government's funding increase to the council and removing any budget requirement for efficiency savings. Adults and Childrens Social Services will also receive an extra £26.3m in the coming financial year.

Other key proposals in the budget include:

  • No cuts to youth services
  • Spending £6.7m on the city's parks, improving and protecting our Green Flag parks
  • Spending £7.1m on highways repairs
  • £308m for school delegated budgets next year

Some services will see increased charges, including:

  • Increasing the cost of hiring sports pitches - 10% increase
  • Increasing the price of burials (+10.6%) and the cremation service (+6.1%)
  • Increasing the cost of school meals by 10p, although this service will continue to be subsidised
  • Increasing some parking charges.

Several factors including inflation, energy prices, demand pressures, and expected pay increases for teachers, carers, and other public sector workers, mean the council's budget for delivering day-to-day services like education, social care, refuse collection, parks and libraries is set to cost over £57m more in the next financial year (April 2024-March 2025) than it has this year.

Welsh Government's 4.3% grant uplift for Cardiff - less than half of what the council received in the current financial year, will bring in an additional £27m, leaving the council with £30.3m to find. Doing so will require cuts to services, efficiency savings, and increases in charges.

Read more here


Coed Glas Primary School Pupils gear up for adventure during demolition site visit at Tŷ Glas

Pupils from Coed Glas Primary School in Llanishen have enjoyed a unique opportunity to visit the demolition site at the former HMRC office building at Tŷ Glas.

Equipped with child size hard hats and hi-viz vests, around 120 children visited the site including pupils from Reception, Year five classes and the school's Deaf and Hearing Loss Resource Base

Hosted by Erith, the demolition contractor chosen to undertake the works, the visit saw the children escorted to a safe zone where the children were given the opportunity to sit in the cab of a tipper truck and learn about the safety aspects of the vehicles. They also watched the high reach demolition process of Gleider House from a safe area and were able to ask senior project personnel, questions before being given a goodie bag. When asked what they thought of the visit, Reception pupils Jude and Theo exclaimed; "Its super-duper."

Coed Glas Primary Headteacher, Sophie Notley, said: "The children have been fascinated with the demolition site and they loved their visit.  One parent commented that it was her son's favourite trip so far! Having local and relevant experiences for the children is really important.  We are very grateful to Erith for the generous donation of Chromebooks which have made a real difference to the children in their classrooms."

The visit is part of Erith's social value commitments associated with the scheme worth around £200,000 investment. 22 Chromebooks and licences have been donated to Coed Glas and Erith are also looking to work with other local schools including Llanishen High School and Cardiff & Vale College. 

Read more here


City Primary School Praised for ‘Calm and Happy Environment'

A calm, purposeful and happy primary school in Cardiff has earned praise from Estyn inspectors for its inclusive, nurturing learning environment where pupils make good progress.

Gabalfa Primary School, in Colwill Road, had 252 pupils on roll at the time of inspection with 43.8% eligible for free school meals and 16.8% with English as an additional language.

The school has earned praise for its ethos, its curriculum, the quality of its teaching staff and the effectiveness of its governing body.

Inspectors praised the school for providing an ‘inclusive, nurturing environment' for its pupils, where they feel ‘safe and valued.' They noted that pupils make ‘good overall progress within a calm, purposeful and happy environment,' and that staff have ‘high expectations of themselves and their pupils.'

The report noted that "staff and pupils celebrate the different cultures, languages and faiths represented in the school community well." Pupils also develop strong digital skills, while older pupils begin to use coding. They also develop their physical and creative skills well.

Pupils' behaviour is a strength of the school said the report, and most understand the school's expectation of their behaviour in school and are keen to do their best. (The school's motto is ‘Only Our Best is Good Enough')

The school's nurturing and caring ethos extends to encouraging pupils to take on roles and responsibilities. The School Ladder Groups (School Council) works closely with school leaders and governors to share the impact of pupil participation on school improvement.

Read more here