The former Welsh Secretary Redwood says the system of 22 Welsh local councils, each with its own education authority, was created in response to calls from Welsh MPs and local councils, who were mostly Labour. Mr Redwood was responding to a speech by the Education Minister, Leighton Andrews.
Mr Redwood says he was told that smaller councils would co-operate and not run everything themselves when they took over in 1996. He had inherited from his predecessor, David Hunt, plans to scrap the existing eight counties (which were local education authorities) and 37 districts
Mr Redwood spit up Mr Hunt's Heads of the Valleys authority and created the two county boroughs with the smallest populations, Merthyr Tydfil and Blaenau Gwent. But he refused to divide Powys into three smaller authorities, although Labour and the local Tory MP both backed the idea.
The Education Minister is giving the strongest signal yet that radical change lies ahead in the way schools are run. In a speech tonight, Leighton Andrews is expected to described the system of 22 Local Education Authorities as 'a historical mistake made by a Conservative government.'
He's commissioned a review which is looking at several options. But these comments suggest that the Welsh Government is already considering making radical changes. He's expected to say that: