Monmouthshire council is 'fighting back' over education
5:37pm Wednesday 9th October 2013 in Monmouthshire news
THE chief executive of Monmouthshire council said the council is fighting back to bring the county’s education department out of special measures.
Paul Matthews said good progress has been made against six recommendations, contained within the Estyn report that are designed to support improved outcomes for children in Monmouthshire, but that is not being complacent.
He said: “Overall good progress is being made, but we continue to be prudent.”
Mr Matthews was presenting a post Estyn Inspection Action Plan to the children and young people select committee, at a meeting in County Hall, near Usk, on Thursday, for it to scrutinize and to understand which targets have been met, are being worked on or have been missed in the monitoring process.
Estyn’s findings from an inspection, carried out in 2012, were that overall education services were ‘unsatisactory’ with the capacity to improve also deemed ‘unsatisfactory’.
The Welsh Government determined special measures it deemed to be necessary to address the weaknesses identified in the Estyn report and established an independent recovery board to oversee the improvements needed.
Mr Matthews said: “We will remain unsatisfactory until we can prove to ourselves and third parties that we are fighting back to get to adequate.”
“There are a lot of activities on the action plan and on the whole I believe they are progressing well.”
He said the council has concerns about whether the Education Achievement Service has the capacity to continue to support it at the pace and rigour that it needs, given that it is supporting two other local authorities in the area and is monitoring the situation.
“Our principle focus in the early days of recovery was in the safeguarding arena. It was pleasing to hear a member of our board say they felt the recovery process is secure. I drew much confidence from that input but not enough confidence to be complacent,” he added.
“There is nothing to celebrate but we are seeing steady improvements in the primary sector and there is still a long way to go. On the whole we have taken a step forward but have further to go.”
The council’s education department was placed into special measures earlier this year after a damning Estyn report said it was failing
The assessors judged the council’s services for children and young people unsatisfactory because the progress pupils make year on year from primary to secondary school is well below average, the overall number of days lost to fixed term exclusions was too high, and the arrangements for supporting and challenging schools were not robust enough.
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