A PLAN to improve performance in secondary education in Torfaen has been drawn up, following a review carried out by the council with the Welsh Government.

The review was prompted by “the proportion of secondary schools causing concern” in the county borough, with half of these placed in the Estyn category of special measures.

“In these schools in particular, pace of progress is insecure and in need of sustained, focused support to ensure the necessary improvements,” a council report says.

Following the review, four key areas have been highlighted for further improvement in an action plan.


These are:

  • Strengthening governance
  • Improving communication arrangements
  • Making better use of performance management
  • Ensuring schools, particularly those “causing concern”, have appropriate support

The review found governance arrangements are “appropriate and well developed”, but greater use of the systems could be made to “ensure risks within education and the schools system are identified and escalated in a timely way”.

Improvements in the way data is collated and analysed are recommended, to ensure councillors and officers have an accurate assessment of performance.

The review recommends a new post of systems officer is created, to support the analysis of data and support councillors and officers.

It also says councillors may want to consider bringing back a sub-committee focussing on individual school performance, and to increase the time available for scrutiny on education in general.

As part of improving performance management, the review recommends meetings are held with all service areas that connect to schools.

These meetings will review support offered to schools, identify potential risks and help co-ordinate support for schools, particularly those in difficulty.

It is also recommended to set up a Headteachers’ Strategic Group, which will work with the council to develop a new education strategy for the borough.

Plans to improve communication arrangements aim to strengthen the “information flow” to councillors on the work of the education service.

The review recommends the development of an “accessible focused learning and development offer for elected members”.

This will inform councillors of system-wide changes and expectations in education.

The review and its recommendations will be considered by councillors at a full meeting on Tuesday.