A NEWLY elected MP is being criticised for wanting to discuss education funding issues with Powys County Council.

The critics believe that  Jane Dodds, the Liberal Democrat MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, should be directing her questions to fellow Liberal Democrat, Kirsty Williams AM, the Welsh Government’s Education Secretary.

Ms Williams is also AM for Brecon and Radnorshire.

Cllr Iain McIntosh (Conservative – Yscir) said: “I’m delighted to see our new MP taking an interest in education in Powys.

“But I’m not sure if she realises that education is devolved here, so I’ve asked her for clarification about that.

“When it comes to funding we have been at the bottom of the Welsh Government’s list for at least 15 years, due to a formula that favours Labour led urban councils.”

Cllr McIntosh continued: “I recently set up a working group to try and identify why the current funding formula constantly lets down the residents of Powys.

“And I’d be delighted if you (Jane Dodds) would help by joining us to take our findings and concerns back to the Senedd once our work is complete.”

Ms Dodds had made a joint statement on Powys schools with the leader of PCC Liberal Democrat and Green group, Cllr James Gibson-Watt (Glasbury).

Cllr Gibson-Watt had revealed frustrations with the new funding formula which would see some schools with more pupils in September than they were receiving funding for.

Cllr Gibson-Watt said: “Schools are now in the ridiculous and damaging situation of having to reduce teacher numbers to meet the requirements of the warning notices.

“Whilst at the same time having to admit more students imposed on them by PCC with no extra funding.

“This can only have a catastrophic effect on the education standards in schools.”

Earlier this year the funding formula was changed to try to give schools a fairer slice of the cake, providing all with cash to fund the minimum educational needs.

The Funding Review Group (FRG), which helped set the formula, had told PCC that the money they were putting into schools would be £5.5 million light of what was needed. This came into force in April.

Head of education, Dr Alec Clark, said: “The number of pupils funded is based on the pupil counting date which is the first Friday after the October half term.

“Warning notices are only issued following ongoing concerns at schools that have not submitted adequate or accurate budget recovery plans to address their ongoing deficit budgets.

“The local authority remains committed to working closely with schools and governing bodies to ensure appropriate education provision.”