EDUCATION portfolio holder, Cllr Phyl Davies, insisted that a discussion on Clyro school finance take place in a closed confidential session.

The issue was brought up for discussion at a meeting of the Learning and Skills committee on Wednesday, January 13.

On December 18, 2020, Powys County Council (PCC) announced that the Clyro school governing body had their right to control the budget suspended.

This allows PCC to take over control of staffing and other spending decisions and address the projected deficit budget over coming months.

Committee Chairman, Cllr Peter Robert, (Llandrindod North – Liberal Democrat), said: “Colleagues that were with us last year will remember we looked at a number of schools in detail in private session that were causing concern to the authority.

“But there was no talk of imminent interventions.

“For those of you who have seen the media, you’ll be aware there has been an intervention in the meantime.

“Between that meeting and today, and I wanted to give Lynette (Lovell – Interim Head of Education) or Phyl (Davies – portfolio holder for Education) an opportunity to bring us up to speed with what has happened?

“I want people to be aware of what’s progressing as it’s a significant change.”

Education portfolio holder Cllr Phyl Davies, (Blaen Hafren – Conservative), said: “As before Christmas the issue was discussed in private session, any discussion on Clyro would have to be in private session again.”

A meeting of the newly created Education Management Board has been set up to listen to an discuss proposals, and a business plan put forward by the headteacher, Sarah Groves, to address the deficit.

Governors have said that school has seen a drop in funding for Additional Learning Needs (ALN) drop as well as a number of pupils leaving the school.

Covid has also meant that money raising and pupil recruitment events that should have taken place last year, had to be cancelled.

They have already raised over £2,500 with an online campaign.

School finances has long been a problem for the authority, with the last set of figures for budgets in 2020/21 discussed by the PCC cabinet in November showed that they would be £2.3 million in debt by the end of March 2021.

Figures show that the original Clyro budget was expected to have a deficit of £15,534 by the end of March 2021, which would climb to £66,361 for the end of March 2022, and fall back to £53,031 by the end of March 2023.

After submitting a recovery plan these figures changed to deficits of £9,352 by the end of March 2021, £57,716 by the end of March 2022 and £43, 382 by the end of March 2023.

In the same set of figures, other primary schools could face deficits of nearly double and triple that of Clyro.