Cutting the number of secondary schools in Powys to help future school finances needs to be discussed, a councillor has said.

At a meeting of Powys County Council Learning and Skills scrutiny committee on Wednesday, June 21 the serious financial issues surrounding the county’s schools were discussed.

Plaid Cymru’s Cllr Bryn Davies believes that focus should be on the quality of education and outcomes rather than school buildings and locations - and that this would help the financial position.

Cllr Davies said: “There was a mistake made by a previous incumbent (education portfolio holder) which established a review of the education system and insisted we have 13 sites for secondary schools in Powys.

“We need to look at consolidation, fewer schools and sites.

“This should be reviewed very openly.

“If we operated with fewer schools, more classes would be viable.”

He added that dual stream schools (Welsh and English streams) should be moved “rapidly along the language continuum.”

Cllr Davies said:  “A dual stream school is two tiny schools operating on a single site.

“They have a poorer education experience as you end up having four year groups in one class.

“Schools would be lot cheaper to run.

“We need to work out how many secondary schools we actually need in Powys and work towards that.

“We need to get rid of our parochial attitude and explain to the public what we are going for is a good education system for the 21st century and not prop up a system designed for 1890.”

Cllr Glyn Preston said: “You make some important points on the number of schools, but I’m less pessimistic than you on the standard and quality of education in dual stream schools.

“I was educated at a dual stream school and had a wonderful time in Llanidloes High School.”

Cllr Geoff Morgan: “I 100 per cent support Bryn, we can’t carry on as it is we all know that.”

Committee chairman, Cllr Gwynfor Thomas asked: “It’s an interesting point and one we should raise (with cabinet), is the plan for change the right one?”

The Strategy for Transforming Education in Powys, which tied the council to use the 13 current secondary school sites, was launched by the previous Independent/Conservative administration in April 2020.

Conservative group leader, Cllr Aled Davies who is Cllr Bryn Davies’ brother, was part of the cabinet who endorsed that strategy.

Cllr Davies said: “There were 13 sites for education to take place, it was a fudge that I wasn’t terribly happy with it.”

The current Liberal Democrat/Labour/Green coalition have continued with the strategy.