Guarded welcome to steps by Powys councillors to try to offset £1.7m deficit which has threatened jobs and education services


Teachers leaders have given a guarded welcome to steps by councillors in Mid Wales to try to offset a financial deficit which has threatened jobs and education services.

Twelve Powys schools are to be offered a 10-year council loan in an attempt to tackle budget deficits worth more than £1.7m.

Councillors have told administrators at the four secondary and eight primary schools that they must draw up financial recovery plans by the end of next month.

Brecon High School – which was the scene of six days of strike action over threatened compulsory redundancies last year – has a deficit of more than £700,000.

On one of the strike days, senior students walked out of school assembly in solidarity with their teachers.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said: “Whilst we welcome in principle these loans being made they will undoubtedly come with strings attached.

“The NASUWT will be calling for full details to be made available for each school to determine how the deficit was incurred.

“Questions about whether it was due to financial mismanagement at school level or underfunding by the Welsh Government and Powys Council must be answered.

“It would be wholly unacceptable for staff to lose their jobs and for children and young people to lose their teachers for either of these reasons.

“The NASUWT will continue to fight job loss in schools as it has already done in at least one of the schools named today.”

Earlier this year, an official report by the Auditor General for Wales described education services in the county as ‘inconsistent’ and school services as only ‘adequate’.

The council has an annual budget of around £230m.

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