Teachers at a Powys primary school will be taking industrial action beginning next month, over serious concerns with how the school is managed and governed.

Members of NASUWT - The Teachers’ Union at Llangors CiW Primary School will take 11 days of discontinuous strike action through April, May and June, with the first strike day to take place on April 10.

The union says the strike action is over adverse management and employer practices, potential job loss, health and safety, working conditions and redundancy.

The union claims that “poor management decisions” over the last two and half years have resulted in “an entirely avoidable” redundancy situation at the school. It adds that the subsequent redundancy process has been “mismanaged” which has caused stress and uncertainty for teachers.

It is also claimed that a key stakeholder, the Swansea and Brecon Diocese, has been excluded from the process.

NASUWT wrote to Powys LA Education Directorate with a view to resolving these issues but said it is "deeply disappointed” at their failure to engage with them following last week’s notification of the union’s formal ballot result.

The union also claims the involvement of the school’s Chair of Governors has been “far from constructive”.

Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of NASUWT, said: “Teachers’ trust and confidence in Llangors Church in Wales school leadership has completely broken down.  Their reasons for this have been submitted, at length and in detail, to the full governing body. We understand these concerns were withheld from the full governing body. The full governing body cannot make informed decisions in the best interests of the school community if information specifically addressed to them is being blocked. Genuine consultation is needed.  It is time for openness and transparency and for the teachers' voices to be heard."

Neil Butler, NASUWT National Official Wales, said: “Our members are not going to pay with their jobs for failures in financial management from the school leadership. The response of the Local Authority to NASUWT concerns has been non-existent and that of the Chair of Governors inadequate. We need the employer to engage meaningfully so that we can resolve this dispute.”

Helen Johns, NASUWT National Executive Member, added: ”It is grossly unfair that pupils should pay the price of poor management by losing some of their dedicated and much-loved teachers.  We understand the financial strain all schools are under but, to be clear, this is no ordinary redundancy situation. Llangors CiW Primary is different. It is not the general budget situation that has pushed the teachers to this unprecedented brink, but the poor management decisions of the past two and a half years, for which there must be full accountability. The governing body needs to be vigilant and proactive, and school management must stop keeping stakeholders in the dark."

In a letter sent to parents and carers on Monday, Chair of Governors at the school Melanie Davies said the setting of a balanced budget had proved “extremely challenging” and had not yet been achieved.

She said the budget they have been given and predicted future budgets will significantly impact their ability to deliver teaching at Llangors in the way that it is currently being provided. 

Ms Davies wrote: “The school has, up until now, been able to support a six-class structure, while being funded for five classes. The Governing body has been advised by Powys County Council that there is now no money in school delegated budgets to carry extra classes and that Governing bodies across Powys will not have an approved budget within this model. On those grounds it has been decided by our Governing Body to reduce teaching hours which will result in a class restructure.”

Ms Davies then detailed how the situation had been “extremely difficult” for everyone involved and that “a significant proportion” of the teaching team had voted to engage in industrial action over the next half term. 

“The school is working closely with Powys officers and will be developing a risk assessment to ensure as many children as possible will be able to attend school on these days,” Ms Davies wrote.

She added that all parents and carers will be contacted later this week, before the Easter break, with an update on arrangements for these dates, but advised parents to plan for “significant disruption”.

The planned days for strike action are; Wednesday, April 10; Wednesday, April 17; Thursday, April 18; Tuesday, April 23; Wednesday, April 24; Thursday, April 25; Thursday, May 2; Thursday, May 9; Tuesday, May 14; Thursday, May 16 and Thursday, June 6.

Parents have organised a meeting for this coming Friday (March 22) at 7:30pm at Llangors Village Hall to offer support to one another and discuss next steps and fundraising ideas.

Lynette Lovell, the council’s Director of Education and Children, told the Brecon & Radnor Express: “Schools across Wales continue to face significant pressures due to falling pupil numbers as well as financial pressures including pay, energy and other costs.

“Although the council has agreed to include an additional £4.2m directly into Powys schools delegated budgets, we are unable to fully protect all schools from the funding pressures they face.

“Governing bodies, like council services, will need to consider how they manage their financial pressures within the resources available to them via the agreed school funding formula. This will mean that they face difficult decisions as to how they realign and set their budgets within the funding available to them.

“Governing bodies have a legal duty to set a balanced budget and failure to do so could result in the council taking appropriate action. However, the council has been proactively supporting schools across the county in their work to realign and set their budgets.

“The council fully supports the school’s governing body in their pro-active approach in dealing with these financial pressures and working to realign and set their budgets and believes that the school has acted in a correct and appropriate manner with the council’s support.

“The council has already met with the trade union regarding Llangors Church in Wales Primary School and relevant officers will continue discussions with them on this matter as it progresses through formal processes.”