MORE training needs to be given to Local Education Authority (LEA) governors so that they can take Powys County Council’s (PCC) message into schools.

According to the education service, work on this has already started as PCC looks to recover from a damning inspection report by Estyn.

There are five recommendations from Estyn that PCC needs to be address in its Post Inspection Action Plan (PIAP).

The PIAP needs to be finished by the end of the month when the education service meets Estyn inspectors again.

The Learning and Skills scrutiny committee has split up the  five recommendations between its members.

They will keep an eye on the work being done by education service staff to answer the problems.

Recommendation Five: Continue to improve the financial management in schools and take appropriate action to address schools with significant deficit budget.

Many Powys schools, especially secondary schools, are millions of pounds in the red which is creating a headache for the whole council.

Cllr Gwynfor Thomas (Conservative – Llansantffraid) said that much of this was tied to recommendation three concerning leadership and management.

Cllr Thomas said: “The deficit in 2021 is going to be something like £8.3 million, so it’s very important to this authority.

“The approach being taken in recent months is a correct one and maybe that the Estyn report has come too early for it?”

Cllr Thomas continued: “I think the direction has to come from the authority.

“We have one common denominator at every school, which is the local (authority) education (authority) governor, which I don’t feel we educate them enough.”

Cllr Thomas: “I don’t think we give enough advice to those LEA governors and we could be more hard hitting because they are supposedly working for the authority.

“So that is our route in to governing bodies, there is a way of educating the governing bodies better through those LEA governors.

Committee vice-chair, school governor and independent member, Angela Davies, said: “Not all of these will be councillors

“I’m an LEA governor, I have no extra training or guidance specifically for that role as opposed to being a parent governor.

“I do wonder if the LEA governor should have some extra responsibility.”

Committee chairman, Cllr Peter Roberts (Liberal Democrat – Llandrindod South), believed there needed to be a “significant review” of training, including the timing and locations.

Interim head of education, Lynette Lovell, said: “It does form an integral part of the PIAP.

“We have already started to look at some of the training, in terms of ways that people can access more readily.”

The PCC priorities to answer this recommendation are:

  • Develop a whole-authority approach to improving the quality of, and support for, school financial management through encouraging schools to share expertise while developing proposals with schools for sustainable model of deployment and professional learning for business managers.
  • Maintain a rolling programme of review of the school budget formula including improved benchmarking and inter-authority comparisons to to ensure that the formula meets the needs of all schools/learners in Powys