POWYS could lose one of its two pupil referral units – used for children with behavioural or mental health issues who need additional support – under its budget plans.

At a meeting of the council’s cabinet on Tuesday, February 13 councillors discussed recommendations on its draft budget by scrutiny committees, in response to plans to balance the books with £10.652 million in cuts, savings, and income generation.

One proposal is to “remodel the service delivery” for PRU’s which could save the council £352,555 for 2024/2025 and a further £251,285 for the 2025/2026.

During the last couple of weeks, the council’s scrutiny committees have gone through these proposals in detail and have produced a number of recommendations to cabinet on what they think of the draft budget.


Members of the Learning and Skills scrutiny committee said in a report to the cabinet that it should “re-consider” the proposal to close a PRU unit.

Councils are legally obliged to offer this kind of school provision, and Powys has two PRUs – one in Newtown and one in Brecon.

It is not yet known which would close under the plans, or whether it would mean they were consolidated on a single site elsewhere.

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Cabinet have responded to the comments in the report and “partially accepted” them.

Cabinet said:  “There have been no decisions about location of a site, and the full business case is being written that will include specific figures which will include the travel arrangements.

“Realised saving would be as a result of consolidating the service onto one site and may include potential savings related to utilities, travel costs and outreach support.”

At the meeting Conservative group leader Cllr Aled Davies said: “It’s difficult for members of the public to understand what the driving issue is here.”

He asked whether closing one of the units would see more children just not being taught at all.

Cllr Davies said: “There are pupils not getting access to the PRU at the moment.

County Times:

“There was a failure to describe the new model.”

Chairman of the Learning and Skills scrutiny committee, Conservative Cllr Gwynfor Thomas, said: “We really did not see any evidence surrounding this – your response is that the business case is being put together.

“We didn’t know what closing one of the PRUs would mean.

“It’s very difficult for us to make any comments on whether it’s going to work when we really don’t know what’s going to happen.

“It’s very worrying we don’t know what extra pressure it will put on the schools or how that would affect the new Additional Learning Needs strategy."

Education portfolio holder, Liberal Democrat Cllr Peter Roberts said: “The severity of problems that we face mean we have to bring things forward more rapidly.

“The PRU paper is one example.”

The draft budget will be debated and finalised at a council meeting next Thursday, February 22.