Carmarthenshire Council’s Executive Board has agreed to serve notice to withdraw from the Regional School Improvement Consortium, ERW, with effect from March 31, 2021.

The Board has also agreed to consider a new footprint for school improvement services that would align with the Swansea Bay City Region.

Executive Board says it’s timely to review ERW arrangements, while acknowledging improvements in the ERW region’s staffing and organisation in the last 12 months.

The ERW region’s core team has also been acknowledged by Executive Board for their valued support to Carmarthenshire’s schools.

Acting to deliver a service that supports schools to raise standards, the current ERW consortium is a joint education service for six local authority areas – Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire, Powys and Swansea.

The Swansea Bay City Region includes four of these local authority areas – Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea.

Carmarthenshire is now the second local authority to serve notice to withdraw from ERW, following on from Neath Port Talbot Council.

Cllr Emlyn Dole, Carmarthenshire Council Leader, said: “Despite ERW achieving many positive things over the years, its large current geographical footprint has added to challenges posed by changes in ERW’s political and managerial leadership.

“This means it’s time to consider a revised ERW footprint as we remain committed to regional working while focussing on the best possible outcome for Carmarthenshire’s schools, pupils and young people.

“The Swansea Bay City Region model is already in place for the planning and delivery of the Swansea Bay City Deal, so we’ll now work closely with partner local authorities on exploring the potential for ERW to replicate this footprint.”

Cllr Glynog Davies, Executive Board Member for Education, said: “Although no final decision has been taken on a revised ERW footprint, other projects as well as the City Deal programme show our commitment to regional working when it delivers benefits for Carmarthenshire’s communities.

“In addition to further discussions with partners on the revised footprint now under consideration, we will also work to ensure any transition in future is as seamless and robust as possible, while protecting staff within ERW’s current structure.

“We will continue to keep staff and partners updated.”