COULD Ceredigion be the next authority to move towards leaving a regional education consortium set up to drive improvements in schools?

Following the decision nearly a year ago of Neath Port Talbot to discontinue its membership in ERW (Education through Regional Working) members of the learning communities overview and scrutiny have decided to ask more questions about its own involvement.

At a meeting on Thursday (February 20) members agreed that a request be made to Ceredigion County Council’s cabinet to review the county’s position in ERW.

Discussions were prompted by the inclusion of the minutes of the most recent ERW councillor scrutiny and joint working committee meetings which includes councillors and officers from the regional authorities including Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Powys and Swansea.

The large size of the region was a concern for Cllr Wyn Thomas while Cllr Bryan Davies questioned the value of involvement when areas such as Pembrokeshire and Powys were “underachieving.”

“We have to look at if it’s beneficial for use to be part of it,” added Cllr Davies.

If Neath Port Talbot goes ahead with its plan to leave the consortium how it accesses Welsh Government grants for education will need to be examined councillors said.

Cllr Keith Evans supported the idea of asking cabinet to consider the council’s membership of ERW and added: “That’s how partnerships work, the strong ones come round and help the weak, and maybe one day we will be the weak one and we will want the support.

“We have prioritised education, we have invested in it. There’s a way for the partnership to work as well, as long as the balance is ok.”

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