Gwent schools crisis
Updated 4:48pm Friday 22nd March 2013 in News
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- Torfaen education put in special measures
- 'Limited progress' after education 'unsatisfactory’ in 2011
- Third failing Gwent authority after Mon and Blaenau Gwent
- 'Goalposts changed' by inspectors - union
Graham Smith, leader of the Conservative group on Torfaen Council: "As a governor at my local school in New Inn, my experience is one of hardworking and committed teachers who are doing their very best. This is then clearly a problem of leadership.
"Torfaen residents would be quite right to ask who is going to take the rap for this failure?"
LIVE: Monmouthshire education debate
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1:09pm Fri 22 Mar 13
Michael Weedall says
What schools performance is bad and why? And this needs to be addressed straight away from the people in charge and the education minister needs to shake things up. Children's education is paramount for the future of Wales and anybody who is allowing failure should lose the privilege of being a teacher.
Elizabeth Haynes, leader of the independent group on Torfaen council: "After a previous damning Torfaen Estyn report, at around the same time that Blaenau Gwent went into special measures, Cllr Mary Barnett (exec member for education) and the Chief Officer for Education, explained that Blaenau Gwent didn't have systems in place to monitor their education effectively and that Torfaen had these systems. So they were confident Special Measures wouldn’t happen in Torfaen!
"For a number of years there has been little acceptance of responsibility for the epic failure in the education of our children in Torfaen.
"We have been very concerned and believe that there is something fundamentally wrong with the provision of education in Torfaen.
"It’s a failure for the whole education department, both professional and elected.
"We would expect more than one resignation to be tendered today."
You can read the full report here: http://t.co/avzrBUHSU1
A summary of the report can be read here:
TORFAEN Council has today become the third Gwent authority to have its education department placed in special measures - following Monmouthshire and Blaenau Gwent. MORE
12:23pm Fri 22 Mar 13
Robert Shillabeer says
What criteria are schools measured against and is it publically available so e erroneous can read it against the report? Is it teaching that is failing or other criteria?
South Wales East AM Mohammad Asghar said the latest Estyn results showed Labour-run councils were struggling.
He said: "Our children are not having a proper education. Funds are not being used properly, the professionals are not doing their jobs properly and our children are suffering. No wonder education in Wales is not on the rise - it's on the decline. Labour run councils are not doing the job they are supposed to be doing."
Torfaen Plaid councillor Jeff Rees said: “Children and Young People in Torfaen deserve a world class education. They are being let down by a lack of a strategic focus from the leadership in the council. Is the role of being leader of the Welsh Local Government Association detracting from a focused effort to improve educational outcomes for our children and young people?”
Lindsay Whittle, Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales East, said: “The report from Estyn is hugely disappointing for the young people of Torfaen.
“But this can’t only be a case of failure in Torfaen but also in Cardiff Bay where Labour has held the education portfolio in the Welsh Government for the last 14 years. The Education Minister Leighton Andrews has to share responsibility for this dismal performance along with the local authority.
He added: "I am happy to apologise to the pupils of Torfaen - the buck stops at the top."
The leader of Torfaen Council Cllr Bob Wellington said: "Estyn have raised the bar again and we have tried to raise it with them but we have not been able to do so quick enough or deep enough. We fully support the minister in trying to improve education in Wales. Whether we have had sufficient time to do that, I don’t know. We haven’t Improved quick enough."
Union’s concerns at sixth Wales area in special measures
Owen Hathway, NUT Wales Policy officer, said: “For a sixth local authority’s education services in Wales to be placed in special measures is very concerning and again emphasises the difficulties teachers are getting in accessing quality support.
"Local authorities have a huge role to play in assisting schools achieve their aims of providing the best education possible for pupils. When local authorities are failing in their duties, as is the case in Torfaen, it makes the role of the teacher extremely difficult.
Gwent AM William Graham – tell us how schools are failing
Gwent AM William Graham said there was confusion as to how exactly schools were failing.
He said: "Estyn reports and school banding statistics that the minister is giving great attention to, are at times, at odds. Monmouthshire was penalised for having low number of children who have free school meals so they should have done better, but in fact their standards have not slipped.
“Is it education or social criteria that show what really happening in our schools? The minister really needs to clarify what's going on."
A SENIOR teaching union figure said today "the goal posts have been changed" in school inspection casting doubt on the findings which have placed Torfaen schools in special measures today. MORE
Minister for Education Leighton Andrews
- Torfaen's response 'disappointing'
- Council 'failed to tackle issues with required pace and urgency'
- Progress made is limited and slow - unacceptable
The minister said: "I am very concerned to note Estyn’s findings. It is particularly disappointing to see that an authority that has had the benefit of an Estyn inspection, and been left with clear recommendations to address, has failed to tackle the issues with the required pace and urgency.
"The conclusion reached by Estyn, that 16 months after their initial inspection the progress made by the authority has been limited and slow, is unacceptable. I look to the Leader of the Council to take the appropriate action."
Torfaen AM Lynne Neagle said she was "deeply concerned and disappointed about today's announcement".
She said: "The quality of local children's education is absolutely paramount and the shortcomings identified by Estyn need to be urgently addressed.
"Having spoken to the council, I'm confident that they are fully committed to working with the Welsh Government to take whatever action is necessary to turn things around. I will be monitoring the situation every step of the way.”
Here is the full monitoring report " @EstynHMI: Monitoring report Torfaen County Borough Council 2013 http://t.co/avzrBUHSU1 "— @torfaencouncil 22 March 2013
We have been informed by @estynhmi that our education service is being placed in special measures. Our response -> http://t.co/ZOxTvK7qwJ— @torfaencouncil 22 March 2013