Posted: Thu 29th Jun 2023

More details sought over Blaenau Gwent education improvements

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jun 29th, 2023

More details on how Blaenau Gwent’s education department will address Estyn’s three recommendations for continued improvement are wanted by members of a council committee. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

At a meeting of the Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Governance and Audit Committee on Wednesday, April 26 members were given an outline of how the education department is going to address the recommendations. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The inspection by the Welsh education watchdog took place last autumn and they published the report in February. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Overall Estyn has said that Blaenau Gwent’s education service had made “good improvement” since it was last inspected 10 years ago. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Strategic education improvement manager, Michelle Jones told the committee that other other areas mentioned in the report text also need improvement. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Ms Jones said: “These have been identified and will be addressed alongside the three recommendations.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Ms Jones told members that Blaenau Gwent will need to show evidence to Estyn that improvements are being made against the recommendations at “link” meetings which will take place each term. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Wayne Hodgins said that he wants the next report to include the “outcomes of the improvements” in the River Centre 3-16 learning community for children with additional learning needs. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Hodgins said: “There’s been a significant capital funding into the River Centre and a change of governance.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

In September 2022 it emerged that Estyn had placed the River Centre into special measures following an inspection held at the school last summer. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The report gives the all-through school across three campuses in Ebbw Vale and Tredegar seven recommendations that need to be addressed. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Part of the work to help turn the school around includes spending £500,000 to improve the “learning environment” of the school’s secondary campus. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

This allowed pupils to return to lessons at the secondary school campus at the end of February. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Hodgins wished to know what impact the investment has had on the pupils that are referred to the River Centre, ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“It’s a key area for our education,” said Cllr Hodgins. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Ms Jones said that case studies without identifying the pupils could be part of the next report. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We could pull together a journey of a learner from going into that setting to moving on hopefully to employment,” said Ms Jones. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Hodgins said: “It would be good as it would show we have dealt with unfortunate situations that was occurring at that setting.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Lay member and committee chairwoman, Joanne Absolom summed up the discussion and said: “We’re asking for more clarity of the action plan as it’s taken forward for implementation, identification of measures and outcomes for pupils, which is extremely important.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Blaenau Gwent’s Cabinet are also expected to discuss the response to Estyn’s recommendations at a meeting next week. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The recommendations are: ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

  • Improve the corporate leadership of education services.
  • Improve the quality of self-evaluation, strategic planning, and performance
    management.
  • Accelerate improvements in provision for secondary age pupils in schools
    causing concern.

By BBC LDRS ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



Spotted something? Got a story? Email News@News.Wales



More from Blaenau Gwent Council

Further Delays in Setting Up Planning Applications Website in Blaenau Gwent Confirmed

Blaenau Gwent Council

Moves to Turn Blaenau Gwent Council into a More Business Minded Organisation Welcome by Senior Councillors

Blaenau Gwent Council

Extra Conditions Imposed on Planning Permission for Tredegar Cemetery Extension

Blaenau Gwent Council

Welsh Government Planning Inspectors Overturn Blaenau Gwent Council’s Decision on Ebbw Vale Garage Extension

Blaenau Gwent Council

Disappointment as Welsh Government approves windfarm plans in Blaenau Gwent

Blaenau Gwent Council

Council Approves Controversial Home Bargains Store Development in Ebbw Vale

Blaenau Gwent Council

Latest from News.Wales

Public Consultation Launched for ‘No-Gas’ Housing Development Near Maesteg

Bridgend Council

Opponents of Proposed “Super-Estate” in Wrexham Call for Public Meeting

Wrexham Council

Disused Newport leisure centre deemed safe by council officials

Newport Council

Plans Revealed for Fourth Phase of Rhondda Fach Active Travel Route

Rhondda Council

Fear of Diluted Local Voice in Vale of Glamorgan Community Council Changes

Vale of Glamorgan Council

Smallest School in Rhondda Cynon Taf to Close Despite Strong Opposition

Rhondda Council