THE CHAIRS of Secondary School Governing bodies are blaming Powys County Councillors for underfunding education for years.

On June 19, the PCC cabinet discussed “grasping the nettle” of school budgets, many of whom are projected to fall off the cliff edge by the end of the 2020/21 financial year. Figures discussed at the meeting showed that collectively the schools could be as much as £6.5 million in the red. Schools running deficit budgets were criticised by the cabinet.

The governors of 11 secondary schools across Powys, writing as a collective, have decided to have their say and have refuted the criticisms point by point in a public letter. In their letter they say: “Several of the comments from councillors are factually incorrect and collectively paint a picture suggesting that secondary schools in Powys are being irresponsible with their budgets. We refute this in the strongest terms and have clear evidence to the contrary. It may be apt to suggest that the problem of deficit school budgets is attributable more to poor or no decision making and leadership at the county council level and not wholly in our schools.”

The chairs go on to refute points made by Cllrs David Jones, Stephen Hayes, education cabinet member Myfanwy Alexander and acting chief executive Mohammed Mehmet at the meeting

They continued: “When it comes to the funding of secondary schools, Powys funds the lowest average amount per individual pupil out of all of the local authorities in Wales, ranking at 22 out of 22.

“County councillors must at least consider this question: Is it possible that secondary schools are underfunded, and therefore deficit budgets are a consequence of this underfunding?”

They also blasted education portfolio holder Cllr Myfanwy Alexander who had criticised schools in the red at the meeting saying that there was a “culture of excuses”.

They answered: “We reject the blind mantra that a growing deficit is the fault of schools and find the statement wilfully misleading to the public. As schools we have gone through years of cuts and implemented many efficiencies. We have already reached a threshold where further efficiencies are not manageable without harming significantly the viable education and well-being of our learners, our future.”

The letter is signed by the chairs of governing bodies of Brecon High School, Builth Wells High School, Ysgol Maesydderwen, Crickhowell High School, Ysgol Uwchradd Caereinon, Llanfyllin High School, Llanidloes High School, Ysgol Bro Hyddgen, Welshpool High School, Llandrindod High School, Ysgol Calon Cymru.

n Read the full letter online ( and in next week’s County Times.