On Tuesday, May 14 and Thursday, May 16, this week, members of NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union at Llangors CiW Primary School in Llangors will once again take strike action. 

An early morning picket line will take place from 07:30m to 09:00am on Thursday with support from members of the local community. This will include the school’s former Foundation Governors, who resigned last month in support of the teachers.

The dispute continues as the Council’s failure to engage in negotiations with NASUWT persists, with no communication from the local authority since Monday, April 29. NASUWT members have now reached out to all 67 councillors in Powys, stating terms for resolution and requesting urgent action. 

 For months, NASUWT members at Llangors have been asking Powys County Council to use their powers of intervention to help resolve an industrial dispute at the school. Teachers there are striking due to concerns over financial mismanagement, a poorly managed redundancy process, adverse management and governance and staff wellbeing. Negotiations have never materialised, contrary to the narrative passed to parents by the Chair of Governors. 

 NASUWT say that although Powys County Council have agreed to launch an independent investigation into issues at Llangors, they will not act to halt the redundancy process.  There have also been conflict of interest issues around the appointing of an independent investigator.

 Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union, said: “Powys County Council cannot continue to ignore the plight of teachers at Llangors.

 “It is unacceptable for local authority leaders to sit back and watch while teachers lose their jobs and the education of pupils suffers.”

 Neil Butler, National Official for Wales, said: “Members at Llangors have already endured high levels of stress and frustration due to the mismanaged redundancy process. They should never have been forced into an industrial dispute to protect their jobs in the face of incompetence and negligence from those in authority.

“Powys County Council are behaving as if it is possible for Llangors to lose teachers and still provide the same high standard of education to pupils. This simply isn’t true. If the proposed redundancy process goes ahead, year groups at Llangors will have to be amalgamated, leaving teachers and pupils at a significant disadvantage.

 “In Wales, we don’t just have a cost of living crisis –  this dispute is also evidence of a cost of education crisis that is costing teachers their jobs and pupils their futures.”

 Helen Johns, National Executive Member for the local area, said: “Teachers are not alone in their concerns over mismanagement and governance at Llangors. Parents, carers, grandparents, former governors and politicians have been steadfast in their support of the industrial action, joining us on picket lines and speaking up where it matters.

 “There can be no meaningful resolution to this dispute that ends in redundancy. We have today reached out in writing to all 67 current Powys County Councillors.  We are imploring them, for the sake of the children of this community, to intervene.”

A spokesperson for Powys County Council said: “The council take the concerns raised in the NASUWT Dispute Resolution Requests services and, as such, are supporting the Governing Body to commission an independent investigation. This information has been clearly communicated to the NASUWT, representatives from the Swansea and Brecon Diocese, school staff and the wider school community.

 “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 their work to realign and set a balanced budget and believes that the school has acted in a correct and appropriate manner with the council’s support.

 “The school’s share of the schools delegated budget is determined by the school funding formula and is based on pupil numbers. As the school’s pupil numbers has been below 150 pupils since 2018/19, the funding provided through the formula since then would be based on a five-class structure. Additional grant funding from Welsh Government during and immediately after the pandemic has allowed the school to keep a six-class structure in place for a period of time.

 “Council officers met with the trade union on 8 March and again on 12 April regarding Llangors Church in Wales Primary School. Relevant officers will continue discussions with them on this matter as it progresses through formal processes.

 “Council officers are working closely with the school and the Governing Body to minimise disruption caused by the strike and maintain an open dialogue.”