Posted: Mon 26th Jun 2023

Greenhill school “a school to be proud of” after improvements /
This article is old - Published: Monday, Jun 26th, 2023

A Pembrokeshire school, which once faced the bleak possibility of potential closure, is now a school to be proud of, county councillors heard.
Tenby’s Ysgol Greenhill School was taken out of special measures last year following an inspection by Estyn. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The 879-pupil school was placed under the most serious statutory category by the education inspection body in December 2019 after it was stated that teaching was ‘not sufficiently effective’.
However, under the leadership of headteacher David Haynes, who was appointed in September 2021, a positive report resulted from Estyn – Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education and Training in Wales.
Following that, a Pembrokeshire County Council Schools Scrutiny Panel visit to the school was made in May, members of the council’s Schools and Learning Overview and Scrutiny Committee heard.
A report for members stated: “It was clear that the deputy headteacher, learners and teaching staff had remained committed to the school despite the dark times which had been experienced and it was reassuring to see that the perception of the school was improving with clear teaching and learning aspirations being supported by sound plans and learners expressing that they now felt content and safe within the school.
“The panel appreciated the candour of current areas of concern raised by both the learners and the leadership team and whilst noting the ongoing severe funding pressures, expressed that they would do all within their power to support, where appropriate, plans for remedial works to be undertaken, in line with the authority’s capital programme.
“The panel was reassured to learn that the Governing Body and Director of Education had displayed strong support but also critical challenge throughout the improvement journey and panel members expressed genuine respect for the difficult conversations held with the school, particularly in September 2021, when closure of the school was needing to be seriously considered.
“The panel was confident that the components put in place would ensure continuous improvement for the school, particularly in relation to the support partnership with [Swansea-based] Bishop Gore School and the self-evaluation methods which had been embedded. Recognition of personal and professional development was expressed by the panel, and it was felt that progression of teaching staff into leadership roles was vital for the robustness of education within the county.”
In its recommendations, the report stated: “The panel noted that a plethora of resources were not poured into the school and that the stripped back arrangements appeared to be successful in terms of school improvement.
“This required an honest assessment within the school of the extent of the challenges which lay ahead. The panel felt that this model of support should be considered for schools improvement at other schools.”
Former pupil Cllr Alistair Cameron said: “Greenhill has a growing reputation in the area; to be blunt it wasn’t fantastic a few years ago, we can all learn lessons for the future.
“The answer to this is not putting in lots of resources from outside but about the staff and students working together.”
Cllr Sam Skyrme-Blackhall, also a member of the school governors, said: “It’s been a bumpy few years, with Covid put into the mix as well; prior to Covid there was very much a cloud over it. The feeling was: ‘What on earth is going on at Greenhill?’.”
She said there was a different environment now: “When you walk in the school there’s a real sense of happiness now, you wanted to show us how good the school is again.”
Former head prefect Amelia Faletau said: “The improvements have just been absolutely immense during my time in Greenhill; we don’t have the best building in the world, but we do our best.
“The ethos has improved so much; I hope that what we’ve achieved continues and prospers in coming years. This school is something that everyone should take pride in, I’m very proud of Greenhill, especially what it is now.”
Members agreed to support the report recommendations. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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

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