Local authorities (previously called local education authorities) have many roles and responsibilities in relation to the provision of education. The powers and duties of a local authority are in some cases general and in other cases quite specific. The more important general powers are as follows:
- Local authorities must contribute towards the spiritual, moral, mental and physical development of the community by securing that efficient primary and secondary education is available to meet the needs of the people in its area.
- Local authorities must secure that their education and training functions are exercised with a view to promoting high standards and promoting the fulfilment of learning potential.
- Local authorities must also secure that sufficient schools for providing primary and secondary education are available for its area.
- Local authorities play a key role in the financing of schools.
Most funding for schools is provided by the Welsh Government to the local authorities. Each local authority then allocates that funding to schools in its area in accordance with the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 and the School Funding (Wales) Regulations 2010 made under that Act. Like English local authorities they must divide their budget up into a non-schools education budget, a schools budget and an individual schools budget. Each Welsh local authority must allocate its individual schools budget amongst schools according to a formula set out in the School Funding (Wales) Regulations 2010 which is based on pupil numbers, ages, needs and other matters.
Local authorities play a part in the governance of individual schools and will appoint governor members to the school governing body.