A REVIEW is to take place that will look at whether schools should be taken out of the hands of Welsh local councils.

Leighton Andrews, education minister for Wales, told the Assembly today that he has asked officials in the Welsh Government to begin a review into how education services are delivered.

Highlighting there were no council education services in Wales rated as excellent by Estyn, Mr Andrews said: “I have given local authorities time and money to get their house in order but the evidence is overwhelming that this has not occurred.”

The review will look whether education services should be merged under joint management by different councils, or whether education services should be delivered on a regional basis.

But it will also consider whether Wales should go further and take education functions away from local government and create regional school boards directly accountable to Welsh Government.

It will also examine whether schools should be directly funded by Welsh ministers, among other issues.

Mr Andrews listed all of the Welsh authorities education services that have been recently inspected by Estyn, saying none were excellent, Newport was found to be good, Blaenau Gwent was in special measures with its education service run by commissioners, Torfaen needed significant improvement and Caerphilly was found adequate.

He said he would not have invented 22 local education authorities and fragmentation had led to the downturn in educational performance.

The review group will report to him in March.