Posted: Wed 8th Nov 2023

Blaenau Gwent Councillors to Receive Update on Efforts to Improve Schools in Special Measures /

BLAENAU Gwent councillors will be told of the work being done to try and move schools causing concern out of Estyn special measures.
At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Place scrutiny committee next Monday, November 13, councillors will be given an update on the work being done to improve both Brynmawr Foundation secondary school and The River Centre River Centre 3-16 Learning Community,
In 2019 Estyn inspected Brynmawr Foundation School and they were put into special measures.
Since then, the school has been working to address the recommendations Estyn gave it.
The report on Brynmawr explains that the school was part of a Welsh Government national pilot for multi-agency support for schools in special measures.
This involves a range of partners supporting the school and monitoring, but this initiative ended in July.
The report said: “Estyn completed a re-visit in the spring and summer term 2023.
“Estyn recognised that the school had strengthened its approaches to supporting pupils’ behaviour and wellbeing and further strengthened its work to improve leadership and plan for school improvement.
“It also commented that governors support the school with commitment and energy and have a sound understanding of the work of the school and provide appropriate challenge and support.”
But Estyn still say that the school has made “insufficient progress” against the recommendations from the report in 2019.
However, the report does point out that the council’s education department has lifted it’s “statutory warning notice” from the school.
The River Centre is an all-through special school across three campuses in Ebbw Vale and Tredegar.
It was placed into special measures following an inspection last year.
The report explained that “significant progress” had been made by the school against the Post Inspection Action Plan (PIAP).
The plan includes remodelling the secondary school site, new safeguarding measures new behaviour policy, new vision for the school, new curriculum offer and home to school transport provided by the council.
The report said: “The school was subject to an Estyn re-visit in May.
“Estyn recognised that good progress had been made and that the school is
focusing on the right things to develop first.
“However, it also identified that the school was very early in its improvement journey.”
The report also notes that a primary school in the county borough is also subject to an Estyn category.
Bryn Bach primary school in Tredegar was inspected by Estyn in July.
The report said: “Due to Estyn’s findings the school has been placed under Estyn Review.
“This is the lightest touch of follow-up.
“It involves reviewing the progress the school has made towards addressing the recommendations highlighted in the report about 12-18 months after the
publication of the inspection report.”
The report which is expected to include comments from the scrutiny committee is set to be presented to the Cabinet at a meeting on November 29. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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