SCHOOLS in Powys have been “diddled” out of funding worth £1.4 million for teachers that have extra responsibilities, according to a senior councillor.

For 2020/21 the schools’ delegated budget formula has seen tweaks which include adding £1.4 million for TLRs (Teaching and Learning Responsibilities).

TLR means that a teacher has an overall responsibility for a subject or curriculum area or leads pupil development.

It entitles the teachers to an increase in pay.

Changes have been made to the formula, which only came into force in April 2019 and were reviewed last autumn and approved by cabinet in December 2019.

The review identified that primary schools were benefiting to the detriment of funding in secondary schools.

The £1.4 million needs to be added so that the TLRs are paid properly – and the element of the formula hinged on whether the Welsh Government would provide it.

On Friday, January 17, Powys County Council’s (PCC) finance panel brought up the issue as it discussed the draft budget.

Audit committee chair Cllr John Morris, (Liberal Democrat – Crickhowell) said: “Last years (2019/2020) budget was £91 million and the one we’re looking at is £98 million.

“On the TLRs, is that for two years and to pay what was not paid this year?”

Head of finance, Jane Thomas, said: “That allowance wasn’t in last year.

“It is recognised that that allowance was not awarded in the changed formula, however no funding was taken out.”

Democratic services committee chair, Cllr Elwyn Vaughan (Plaid Cymru – Glantwymyn)  said: “That £1.4 million acknowledges a cock-up from last year.

“On the one hand we’re lambasting schools because of the deficit budgets but in reality we diddled them out of £1.4 million. That’s what it boils down to.”

“The calculation was wrong by this authority.

“If I was a high school headmaster or on the governing body I’d be pretty livid if I had a letter from the council condemning us about not toeing the line in terms of budget when we have been allocated inadequate funding.”

Finance Portfolio Holder, Cllr Aled Davies (Conservative – Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant & Llansilin), said: “There was an extra £1 million last year, it’s up to the school.

“I don’t think this Council ever condemns schools we offer to work with them.”

Earlier Ms Thomas had told the committee that there would be an extra  £6.6 million going in to schools and education and that £4.3 million of it relates to teachers’ pay and pension.

PCC will be attempting to balance its budget for 2020/21 with £11 million in cuts and a proposal to increase council tax by five per cent.

It is expected that the Welsh Government will finalise its local government budget settlement on February 25 and PCC will discuss the budget at a full council meeting on February 28.

The provisional settlement is that Powys receives £184,289 million from the Welsh Government, an increase of £9,508 million or 5.4 per cent which boils down to 4.2 per cent following transfers and specific grants.

The total budget for next year, with a Council Tax increase of five per cent, is set to be £269,600 million.