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.