SENIOR Powys councillors have agreed a school building programme worth £300 million over the next decade.

But there are questions around where the money will come from to finance the later years of the programme.

At a meeting on Tuesday, May 7, Powys County Council’s Liberal Democrat/Labour cabinet received a report asking for the go ahead to submit a  new Strategic Outline Programme (SOP) to the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Communities for Learning’s programme.

The Welsh Government has asked local authorities to submit their proposal and the difference between old 21st Century Schools Programme and the new funding programme is that councils now need to outline a “rolling programme” of proposals for up to nine years.

These will be split into three sections of three years each.

The first three years up to 2027 will be made up of projects expected to reach a “full business case.”

The projects in the second three-year period up to 2030 and the last section covers long term “pipeline” projects beyond 2030.

Education portfolio holder, Liberal Democrat Cllr Pete Roberts said: “This is the first strategic document that we have brought forward that looks at the planned structure of our schools to take into the future.

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“It indicates a number of sites where proposals are coming forward now that will require the statutory consultation process in relation to the school’s organisation code as part of moving forward.”

The proposals were scrutinised last month at the Learning and Skills committee.

The committee chairman, Conservative Cllr Cllr Gwynfor Thomas welcomed the “aspiration” but had some concerns.

Cllr Thomas said: “We are enthusiastic but we’re not quite clear on where we’re going.

“The commitment that’s there is for the first three years of the programme.”


He said that the committee had asked where the “resources” for years four and onwards of the programme would come from?

Especially considering the: “desperate situation we find our finances to be in at the moment.”

Cllr Thomas also said that reorganisation proposals “particularly for the north of Powys” had been put on the “back burner.”

According to Cllr Thomas this is causing concern over the cost of school building maintenance and that some schools are oversubscribed.

In the previous version of the SOP, reorganising the Llanfyllin catchment area had been expected to take place from 2023 to 2025 – and now it is programmed into years seven to nine – which would be from 2030 onwards.

Director of corporate services, Jane Thomas stressed that any future school building projects would need to be “affordable, prudent and sustainable.”

Ms Thomas said: “The commitment is there but in terms of financing the individual projects as we move through this programme, that will be considered at later stages of the business case.”

This is when the council “can confirm” where it will find its share of the costs.

“There is further work needed on how that will be put in place, ” explained Ms Thomas.

Cabinet agreed the SOP which will now be sent to the Welsh Government.

Of the £300 million the council would need to stump up just over £100 million, just under £200 million would come from the Welsh Government and £1.8 million from church funding.

The projects to be delivered in the first three years of the programme are:

  • Ysgol Bro Hyddgen – Machynlleth new all through primary and secondary school campus.
  • Ysgol Calon y Dderwen – new primary school in Newtown.
  • Brynllywarch Special School in Kerry – new building.
  • Sennybridge primary school – new building.
  • Ysgol Golwg Pen y Fan in Brecon – new school building following the mergers of Cradoc primary with Mount Street infant and junior schools.

Years four to six:

  • Re-configuration of Ysgol Bro Caereinion all through primary and secondary school in Llanfair Caereinion – which is expected to become a Welsh medium school.
  • New facilities for the Ysgol Calon Cymru’s Llandrindod Wells campus which is expected to become an English medium secondary school.
  • Remodelling of the Ysgol Calon Cymru Builth Wells campus – which is expected to become a new all age Welsh medium primary and secondary school.
  • These proposals are dependent on how the School Transformation Programme pans out.

Years seven to nine.

  • During this period Powys say they will concentrate on reorganising the Llanfyllin catchment area which could see:
  • A new Church-in-Wales (CiW) primary school building to replace Llansantffraid and Llanfechain school buildings.
  • A new area school to potentially replace, primary schools in Arddleen, Four Crosses, Llanymynech, and Crew Green.
  • Ysgol Llanfyllin – a new campus for all age primary and secondary school.