APPROVING the consultation stage for school transformation in Powys, means that it’s all aboard the for next stage of the journey to a future vision of high performing education system.

At Powys County Council’s (PCC) cabinet meeting on Tuesday, January 21, members agreed to take the ‘Strategic Review of Schools’ to a “wider engagement.”

This consultation exercise is expected to take the views of teachers, pupils and parents.

The exercise will provide data for education service staff to be able to base the plan on for “school transformation,” which would be discussed later this year.

Education Portfolio Holder, Cllr Phyl Davies, (Conservative – Blaen Hafren), said: “Since our Estyn inspection last year and a paper regarding the modernisation of post-16 education also last year, education has been high on the agenda.

“We engaged a lot with our schools community, governors, headteacher and outside bodies.”

Clllr Davies said that so far, discussions already held had seen support for the need to make changes to schools in Powys.

Cllr Davies added: “I would really encourage all members to pay attention to the documents, especially the vision for education.

“It’s what I believe should be the equity of offer and ensuring we have the school estate that can deliver the education for our learners. Ensuring that they have the facilities to allow them to thrive, particularly with the new curriculum that is coming in 2022.

“Our teachers and headteacher need to have the resources to adapt to that curriculum.”

Council Leader, Cllr Rosemarie Harris, (Independent – Llangynidr) added: “This is a strategic review we’re not talking about individual schools at this point.”

Portfolio Holder for Finance, Cllr Aled Davies (Conservative – Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant & Llansilin), said: “This is a really exciting moment in our education service.

“Powys has good schools but we’re not consistent enough as a county.”

Chair of the learning and skills committee, Cllr Peter Roberts (Liberal Democrat – Llandrindod Wells South) said that his committee welcomed the report and would be providing its own input.

Cllr Roberts said: “On the wider case based on the discussions scrutiny welcome the increasing pace of this review while not sacrificing consultation.

“We welcome the emphasis that’s being made of the curriculum, wellbeing and equity of provision rather than straight budget cuts.”

Schools in Powys have been in crisis in recent years as many are now in the red.

The education services is recovering from a critical report from the schools inspectorate, Estyn which was published in September.

The education service had a turbulent year in 2019.

It lost a director, head of education and the Post – 16 education review revealed that hundreds of teenagers from Powys were heading over the border into England, or neighbouring Welsh local authorities to continue their education.

This cost Powys schools 10s of thousands of pounds.

The funding formula which came into force in April 2019, is already obsolete and has been changed.

A report on the consultation response should come back to cabinet in the spring.