Update given to Executive on progress to improve failing schools

Wednesday, July 21st, 2021 9:54pm

By Elgan Hearne - Local Democracy Reporter

Schools in Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council that were failing are now improving according to councillors.

At the Executive team meeting on Wednesday, July 21, heard how “schools causing concerns” had dealt with their problems during the last year.

Head of school improvement and inclusion, Luisa Munro-Morris said: “The purpose of the report is to provide an overview of those schools that had been inspected by Estyn during this period.

“But of course, inspections have been suspended during the pandemic and we’ve received information now that inspections won’t start again until the spring term.

“So, the report provides and update on largely the work the schools have done with the EAS (Education Achievement Service).”

EAS is the education consortia that provides help and guidance for local authorities in South East Wales. Each Welsh region has one of these advisory bodies.

Ms Munro-Morris said: “It is difficult for schools at the moment, to make judgement or for the local education authority to make judgements on  progress without an Estyn inspection.

The report explained which schools needed extra support and how they had responded during the last year.

Sofrydd primary school had moved from the Yellow to Amber categorisation.

Ms Munro-Morris said she was “confident” when new leadership arrangements had been finalised there, it would “no longer” be causing concern.

Abertillery Learning Community (ALC ), an all-through school for three to 16-year-olds, had received a statutory warning notice.

Ms Munro-Morris said: “I know that the headteacher is extremely keen for Estyn to re-inspect as they are hoping to come out of the (red) category, and we are confident they will.”

Brynmawr Foundation School is another school with a red monitoring status.

Ms Munro-Morris said that a single plan to turn things around has “just been completed” for Brynmawr.

The River Centre learning community which teaches pupils with social, emotional, and behavioural difficulties from the Ebbw Vale and Tredegar area, had received a pre-warning notice earlier this year.

This is due to problems with pupil capacity and admission arrangements.

Glyncoed primary school in Ebbw Vale, has been removed from the schools causing concern list as progress to overcome its problems had been assessed as strong.

The report also shows that  Bryn Bach Pprimary School in Tredegar had moved from amber to yellow.

Ms Munro-Morris added: “It is pleasing to note that both schools have made further positive progress a not in receipt of additional support.

Executive member for education, Cllr Joanne Collins said: “I’m pleased with the overall progress that’s been made, particularly with the removal of Glyncoed from the process.

“I feel that positive progress is being made at Abertillery Learning Community, Brynmawr and Sofrydd, and I feel the action taken to address the concerns at the River Centre is more than appropriate at this stage.”

Council leader, Cllr Nigel Daniels said: “This definitely shows we’re going in the right direction and is a reflection of the commitment of the schools and the work our officers have done into the bargain.”

The report was accepted by the Executive committee.

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