Newport wants to end education partnership with Blaenau Gwent
4:52pm Monday 16th December 2013 in News
NEWPORT City Council has told Blaenau Gwent it wants to withdraw from the partnership arrangement which sees a shared education officer position covering both authorities.
In February 2013, James Harris was appointed joint chief education officer for both councils, but from the end of January he will return to his role in Newport full time.
All remaining Newport support staff based in Blaenau Gwent will withdraw from their collaborative roles by the middle of February.
When the partnership was announced in January this year, Newport council said the move came after education minister Leighton Andrews made it clear he wanted to see a reduction in the number of chief officers for education across Welsh authorities.
A Newport City Council spokeswoman said: “Following a successful period of sharing a chief education officer, Newport City Council and Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council have agreed to end the partnership arrangement, and return to full time self-management at both authorities from February 1.
“We have to ensure that we maintain our own education standards and in the long term feel we can only do that by having our chief education officer in post full time.”
A Blaenau Gwent spokesman said: “The council is disappointed with this decision but understands the need for Newport to focus on its own education and financial challenges.
“The end of the partnership arrangement provides Blaenau Gwent with the opportunity to develop its own full time, local self management arrangements. Our immediate priority is to work with Welsh government to put a strong and experienced leadership team in place as soon as possible.”
Hedley McCarthy, leader of Blaenau Gwent Council, said: “While I am disappointed that the recent collaborative arrangement with Newport will shortly come to an end, it now presents an opportunity for the council to move forwards with its own plans to work collaboratively with the newly constituted Recovery Board.
“It is important that we keep up the momentum and quickly appoint the right leadership team to drive forward education achievement in Blaenau Gwent.”
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