THE entire board of governors at a Powys school are resigning over a decision to suspend its right to a delegated budget.

Powys County Council announced on Friday (December 18) that it had taken the action involving Clyro Church in Wales School’s governing body, in order to prevent the school from falling into a situation of rising deficits over the coming years.

Within an hour, chair of governors Mari Fforde announced on Twitter that she was tending her resignation as the school was being portrayed as failing despite a glowing Estyn report in June 2019 and because pupil numbers had fallen by just four, which would trigger a number of redundancies in the new year.

“As chair at Clyro School I am devastated by the actions of Powys today,” tweeted Ms Fforde, who condemned the news coming on the final day of term before the Christmas holidays.

“I am writing my letter of resignation as I cannot stand by the decision to make redundancies at the school and ask that Powys instead put their efforts into investigating the so called 'fair funding formula'.

“Clyro is a fantastic school with wonderful staff and dedicated governors and it has been a privilege to give my time as a governor and as chair.

“I am very sorry that the staff had to receive the news today, on the last day of a stressful term, before a difficult Christmas.”

The council said it was taking the steps as the powers are granted to them under the Schools Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013.

It said the suspension will allow the council to secure control of staffing and other spending decisions and to take control of the school’s budget, including addressing the projected deficit budget over coming months.

A spokesperson for Powys County Council said: “The decision to take this action is one that we have not taken lightly.

“Clyro Church in Wales Primary School is a well-regarded school across Powys, which provides well for its children and families. However, we need all of our schools to work towards stable finances that can offer equity for learners across the county.

“We will continue to try and work with the governing body so that the school has an effective recovery plan.”

In a statement accompanying her tweets, Ms Fforde expressed her dismay and anger, saying: “Clyro Primary School is an excellent school, described as a ‘caring community where pupils are happy and feel secure…behaviour is excellent and pupils thrive as confident capable learners’ by Estyn inspectors just 18 months ago.

“Now the school is being portrayed as failing in its management and faces redundancies because pupil numbers dropped from 92 to 88, thereby crossing a threshold set by the Fair Funding Policy.

“Powys today suspended the budget and informed staff that it will begin the process of redundancy in the new year. The chair and vice chair, along with other governors, are devastated and cannot stand by the decision made by Powys and are writing letters of resignation.

“Clyro only needs 10 more pupils in order to meet the required magic number. The amount of pupils is predicted to be above the threshold once again by 2023 which would make the redundancies and cuts unnecessary, but the Fair Funding Policy and those applying it are unwilling to take the long term view necessary to avoid tis damage and disruption.

“In an action plan from December 2019 Powys stated they would maintain continuous oversight of the school’s budget formula to consider how changes would affect school budgets and consider changes to it. Governors at Clyro would like to ask that this is done before staff are made redundant.”