Monmouthshire could take full control of failing schools
7:00am Tuesday 12th March 2013 in News
PROBLEM schools in Monmouthshire could see their governors replaced and their financial and staffing powers taken over by the council in a bid to drive up standards.
That's just one of the recommendations made by the authority in its action plan drawn up after its education department was put into special measures following a damning inspection.
The report, submitted to education minister Leighton Andrews, admits the authority has not been robust enough in challenging schools to improve outcomes, but says it could improve this by intervening at schools which are performing badly.
It says two new heads of service will be employed by the end of the summer term who will determine whether schools need additional help, while recovery plans will be put in place for the nine schools already in debt.
A new safeguarding policy has been introduced in all schools following Estyn's criticism the council didn't have its own, and training will be given to all staff.
Two human resources staff will be employed to help schools and governing bodies address under performance by teachers and senior leadership, and further training will be given to governors to help them hold their school to account.
Staff from the Gwent-wide Education Achievement Service will visit schools regularly to ensure there is consistency in how they are being challenged and supported, and new targets will be set for schools which have made improvements. There will quarterly meetings to analyse schools performance, clinics will be held to tackle “stubborn” performance issues, and staff will also be subject to regular appraisals. A three-year plan for education, setting out specific priorities for improvement will be drawn up, and will be reviewed annually by full council.
The authority will review schools’ practice on fixed term exclusions and consider if pupils could be dealt with in another way in a bid to lower exclusion rates, while more will be done to engage youngsters not in education, employment or training.
The tracking of pupils with additional learning needs will also be developed to ensure they, along with children in need, those who receive free school meals, and children at risk, achieve their potential.
The authority will also look at how it can deliver more services locally for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, behavioural difficulties and severe learning needs.
Education minister Leighton Andrews is now expected to respond to the report and set up an Independent Recovery Board to oversee improvements.