At a meeting of Powys County Council’s cabinet, on Tuesday, January 18 councillors looked at proposals to join forces with their western neighbours on education.
This follows both Powys and Ceredigion County Council pulling out of ERW (Education through Regional Working) last year.
ERW was an alliance of six local authorities created to deliver school improvement services across Mid and South West Wales.
Powys education director Lynette Lovell said: “The ERW region has ceased to exist.
“But given the expectation for regional working in school improvement we need to work with appropriate partners, so that we are not insular and to ensure we are fully involved in national and cross regional working.”
Mrs Lovell pointed out that Powys and Ceredigion are tied together in the Mid Wales Growth Deal as well as a number of other partnerships.
The Mid Wales education partnership will operate on a voluntary memorandum of understanding.
Mrs Lovell added that both authorities would be presenting their own business plan to the Welsh Government which has been “fully endorsed.”
Mrs Lovell said: “The regional funding now will come directly to each local authority.”
Mrs Lovell explained that a new team of advisors had been created in the schools service to deal with professional learning and the new Welsh curriculum, but there would be some “shared areas and posts” that will work across both authorities.
The focus of collaboration would be on leadership development, deprivation and rural poverty, improving teaching methods and areas linked to early careers.
Mrs Lovell said: “Our agreement with Ceredigion assures that there is a clear protocol to ensure that Mid Wales is represented to the national agenda and contributes effectively to that work.”
Council leader, Councillor Rosemarie Harris said: “It’s a pity that the ERW partnership which worked very well for Powys, has come to an end.
“We have a good way forward, largely on our own, but we will be at national tables with Ceredigion, and I think that’s perfect as far as we’re concerned.”
Councillors on the cabinet agreed the new partnership unanimously.
The problems for ERW started in March 2019, when the Neath Port Talbot Council’s cabinet withdrew from the regional consortium on March 31, 2020.
Swansea, Carmarthenshire, and Ceredigion councils all announced that they too would withdraw from ERW.
In December 2020 the Powys cabinet decided to also withdraw from ERW and were followed by Pembrokeshire – this saw ERW dissolved on March 31, 2021.