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Ceredigion County Council to leave the educational regional working consortium

CEREDIGION will be the latest local authority to leave the educational regional working consortium at the end of the month with the move welcomed by scrutiny.

A report on ERW’s impact on school improvement and value for money was presented to members of the learning communities overview and scrutiny committee on March 11 with the final decision on withdrawing from the consortium to be taken at cabinet next week.

Ceredigion County Council gave notice of its decision to withdraw in March 2020 and a new scheme has been prepared to support teachers, schools, education and curriculum from April 1, 2021.

This strategy – which will include work with other local authorities when necessary – has been approved by headteachers and Welsh Government the council’s lead officer for schools Meinir Ebbsworth said at Thursday’s meeting.

Ceredigion will maintain its curriculum support in literacy, numeracy and ICT as well as the options for teachers to develop skills, such as those used during covid-19 closures and remote learning, and it will all be available in Welsh, which was not the case with ERW.

Ms Ebbsworth added that there was a “financial risk” to leaving ERW as the council would oversee NQT for newly qualified teachers but the “indicative grants figure” from Welsh Government is felt to be sufficient.

It will also allow the opportunity to “invest heavily in our workforce” with a plan to provide early career support for a teacher’s first few years in the job, not just the one NQY year, in recognition of the fact many “teachers who start their career in Ceredigion, end their career in Ceredigion.”

Cllr Wyn Thomas said: “The important thing we have said is we are not going to be isolated as a result of this decision.”

Council leader Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn said ERW had “been quite troublesome since it was established” and she was looking forward to April 1.

“It will be a good day, it won’t be an April fool,” she added.

Neath Port Talbot has already left ERW and discussions at other authorities including Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire are underway.

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