TORFAEN is to hand over control of its education department in the wake of its damning Estyn report.

The move will be proposed by council chief executive Alison Ward at a meeting of full council on June 25, a decision which will also see Mark Provis' current role of chief education officer made redundant and he will be taking leave until a decision is made at the end of the month.

Torfaen’s education department was placed into special measures at the end of March after failing to make enough progress on recommendations made by the schools’ inspectorate Estyn.

In an e-mail to councillors, seen by us, Ms Ward said: "I will be recommending that the council should consider transferring its statutory duty for school improvement to the Education Achievement Service (EAS).

"This will result in a fundamental change in the role of chief education officer (CEO) and will mean that there is no need for the post to continue in its current form; I will therefore also be recommending to council that the post be made redundant."

Torfaen has been a lead authority in the EAS, which was set up is a partnerships between the five Gwent authorities - Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Newport, Monmouthshire and Torfaen - last summer with the aim of sharing expertise and resources to raise standards.

Ms Ward's e-mail continued: "Mark Provis, the current Chief Education Officer, supports this change as the logical next step in the authority's commitment to securing greater capacity to support school improvement at a regional level.

"It is also his view that the planning for the future delivery of the wider Education Services in Torfaen is best undertaken by those who will be engaged long term with these services.

"He has every confidence in his colleagues' capacity to respond effectively to this challenge and in the schools' commitment to working in partnership with them."

Ms Ward said senior education officer, Dermot McChrystal would lead the education senior management team in the interim and herself and Brian Mawby, cabinet member responsible for education will "keep close oversight of the work of the education service and provide any support and guidance that is required."

Cllr Mawby and Ms Ward will bring an initial report on the proposals to overview and scrutiny committee on June 18, when members views will be sought.

The EAS was created last summer but officially got to work in September and has been boosted by £1 million of Welsh Government money.