Posted: Sun 5th Jun 2016

Scrutiny Group Challenging Performance And Standards In Powys Schools

This article is old - Published: Sunday, Jun 5th, 2016

Three Powys secondary schools that are in special measures, along with a further two in Estyn monitoring, are of extreme concern to a county council scrutiny group. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

An Education Scrutiny Group’s report to the Cabinet on 24 May was welcomed by Powys County Council’s cabinet. The group has been challenging schools in their performance and standards as part of their scrutiny function, including reviewing the progress made by schools currently in special measures. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The group has highlighted that across Wales there are only seven secondary schools in special measures, three of which are in Powys. This position raises questions about the level of support and challenge that schools receive from both the ERW Challenge Advisory Service, from the individual school governing bodies and from the leadership at individual schools, the group added. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

In addition, the capacity of the Challenge Advisory Service is of cause of concern. The group has come up with a number of recommendations to the portfolio holder of education and cabinet including: ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

• the cabinet take the necessary steps to ensure that rapid and sustained improvement in school performance is evidenced in those schools which are underperforming
• that cabinet is assured that the ERW Challenge Advisory Service is providing appropriate level support and challenge to Powys schools and that they are kept continually advised of schools causing concern
• the portfolio holder provides assurance that school governing bodies provide the appropriate level of support and challenge to their individual school. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr David Jones, Chair of People Scrutiny Committee and the Leader Member of the Education Scrutiny Group, said: “Scrutiny is a hugely important role undertaken by the council and ensures that we rigorously ask ourselves whether we have made decisions in the proper way and in line with our own policies as well as whether we could do things better. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“A priority in the One Powys Plan is that all children and young people are supported to achieve their full potential. However, during the work of the Education Scrutiny Group, it was apparent that this is not the case. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Schools are facing major challenges and these must be addressed for the sake of our young learners. Cabinet must take the appropriate action to ensure that education provided to all the pupils in Powys is of the highest standard and where standards are falling short then they must take appropriate action to address this.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Arwel Jones, Cabinet Member for Education, said: “I welcome this report by the Education Scrutiny Group and would like to thank them for their work in challenging schools, governing bodies and the school improvement service on their performance and standards. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We are committed to ensuring that our young learners have access to the highest quality of education possible. To do this we must ensure that our education settings are affordable and sustainable. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We must take decisive action to modernise our education system and some difficult decisions will need to be taken to provide the highest quality of education of our young learners. The views of the Education Scrutiny Group will be vital as we look to improve the learning environments for the children and young people in Powys.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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