Mid Wales school facing staff cuts to balance books

A village primary school may have to reduce its teaching staff to balance its books.

Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant is one of the schools that has been told by Powys County Council it must achieve a balanced budget over the next three years.

But supporters of the popular school say cuts should not be at the expense of educational standards and its dual stream structure.

There are also fears more primary schools along the Shropshire and Powys border will struggle financially when the age of admission is raised by the council.

Montgomeryshire Welsh Assembly Member, Russell George, took the school’s plight to the Welsh parliament, questioning minister Alun Davies AM, on the importance of retaining bilingual education in Powys.

Mr George said: “In spite of efforts from the headteacher and governors of Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant Primary School, it appears it will have to make reductions in staffing from a five to a four-teacher school in order to meet the challenge set by Powys County Council of balancing its budget within three years.

“In doing that, it would lead to the combination of English and Welsh infant streams in the afternoons, compromising, of course, the school’s bilingual status as a school.”

He said all small, rural, dual-stream schools faced extra costs and the minister had emphasised the importance of pupils accessing education in Welsh and English and that Powys must adopt the same principal.

Aled Davies, the councillor representing Llanrhaeadr, said: “Powys County Council must ensure the formula delivers adequate funding and resources to maintain a bilingual school of this size. The standard of education delivered at Llanrhaeadr YM school is very good and the parents and governors are rightly proud of their school.

“But the education of children in Llanrhaeadr could be damaged and the delivery of Welsh medium education will be further compromised if a solution is not found.”

Powys County Council says there are 40 schools currently in deficit and a projected deficit greater than the council’s general reserve.

A spokesman said: “At a recent Cabinet meeting it was agreed that the budget plan for Llanrhaeadr remains unlicensed but that the school is required to continue to work with the local authority to further improve the position.”

No-one from Llanrhaeadr ym Mochant Primary School was available for comment.

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Comments for: "Mid Wales school facing staff cuts to balance books"

TW

Two tory councillors moaning about austerity? You can't make it up!

But I am glad they both see the importance of our rural schools.

School budgets were first raised within Powys in 2010 when falling pupil numbers were having a negative effect on budgets.

Sorry to state the obvious, but in these times of austerity, schools can only be efficient with class sizes of 30. We desperately need new families to move into our rural areas to sustain these schools. But there is no decent paid work here for families. Instead we are seeing young people are leaving the area.

Since Russ was elected to the Welsh assembly in 2011, what has he done to attract more jobs to the area so that our communities are sustainable? He should be opening opportunities for businesses to establish and grow here. But we can't do that because our fragile grid network would not be able to sustain the sort of growth which is desperately needed here in Powys. And we all know where Russ stands on this issue!

One day the penny will drop with these Montgomeryshire conservatives, but it will be too late by then.