Council leader 'not doing enough' to solve education problems

RE-ELECTED: Blaenau Gwent council leader Hedley McCarthy

RE-ELECTED: Blaenau Gwent council leader Hedley McCarthy

First published in News by

THE leader of a Gwent council is being accused of not showing enough leadership to get his authority's education department out of special measures.

Yesterday it emerged Blaenau Gwent council leader Hedley McCarthy had turned down a suggestion that education mentoring and best practice advice could be provided from the leader of Merthyr Tydfil council Brendan Toomey, whose authority’s education department is also in special measures.

And in a letter to the council at the end of July, assistant director of Welsh education standards body Estyn Clive Phillips described the impact of leadership by councillors regarding safeguarding pupils across the authority as “unclear”.

Blaenau Gwent's education department is still in special measures, meaning there are serious concerns when it comes to standards in the area.

Leader of the minority opposition party cllr John Hopkins, member for Brynmawr, said: “As far as education is concerned, Blaenau Gwent is in absolutely dire straits. There seems to be no direction from the leadership in applying the right processes and actions to improve education.

“There need to be some changes within the authority. We are concerned with budgets and cuts to services and seem to be ignoring the importance of education and leaving it to others and hoping something is going to happen and it’s not.

“I’m very concerned that there’s no political input into improvements in education. People are just laidback and don’t seem to be able to administer improvements from a political perspective.”

He said his hopes rested with a new director of education starting on September 1 who could provide a catalyst for change.

Cllr McCarthy said that although final decisions on education were taken by the board set up to steer the council to recovery, board members were receptive to suggestions: “We have a good interface with the recovery board where we suggest and recommend things to them - and they do to us - on how we should be taking this forward.”

He said he believed upcoming GCSE and Key Stage exam results would show improvement and hoped decision making powers could be returned to councillors soon.

“It’s like fire on my skin to think people would make a political football out of this,” he added. “We are committed to pulling out all the stops to deliver the best for our children.”

Estyn’s Mr Phillips wrote to Blaenau Gwent’s chief executive on July 25 stating: “The impact of leadership by elected members for improving safeguarding across the local authority remains unclear.”

Cllr McCarthy said this was not a reference to his personal leadership but to the whole decision making structure.

He said possible mentoring with Brendan Toomey, leader of Merthyr Tydfil council, was only a suggestion made back in February and said he had taken advice from the Welsh Local Government Association instead.

Merthyr Tydfil was itself in special measures, he added, so he felt mentoring may not have been appropriate.

Since the suggestion was made he had been unanimously re-elected as leader, he added.

Comments (12)

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1:33pm Sat 9 Aug 14

DOWNTHEPIT says...

it's not just education that needs sorting out.....every department needs overhauling ....i'm sorry but this council is destroying blaenau gwent it's about time the welsh assembly came in + took over the running of every thing if not i think that blaenau gwent council could be in danger of going bust. i have voted labour all my life but never again.
it's not just education that needs sorting out.....every department needs overhauling ....i'm sorry but this council is destroying blaenau gwent it's about time the welsh assembly came in + took over the running of every thing if not i think that blaenau gwent council could be in danger of going bust. i have voted labour all my life but never again. DOWNTHEPIT
  • Score: 8

2:08pm Sat 9 Aug 14

scraptheWAG says...

DOWNTHEPIT wrote:
it's not just education that needs sorting out.....every department needs overhauling ....i'm sorry but this council is destroying blaenau gwent it's about time the welsh assembly came in + took over the running of every thing if not i think that blaenau gwent council could be in danger of going bust. i have voted labour all my life but never again.
voted labour alll your life I think this is the mentality why wales is in the state its in!
[quote][p][bold]DOWNTHEPIT[/bold] wrote: it's not just education that needs sorting out.....every department needs overhauling ....i'm sorry but this council is destroying blaenau gwent it's about time the welsh assembly came in + took over the running of every thing if not i think that blaenau gwent council could be in danger of going bust. i have voted labour all my life but never again.[/p][/quote]voted labour alll your life I think this is the mentality why wales is in the state its in! scraptheWAG
  • Score: 4

3:01pm Sat 9 Aug 14

kez1968 says...

the best thing this fool and his dodgy compatriots is for them all to resign and move out of this borough and never to return...
the best thing this fool and his dodgy compatriots is for them all to resign and move out of this borough and never to return... kez1968
  • Score: 7

4:36pm Sat 9 Aug 14

taffygwent says...

kez1968 wrote:
the best thing this fool and his dodgy compatriots is for them all to resign and move out of this borough and never to return...
They too busy riding the gravy train
[quote][p][bold]kez1968[/bold] wrote: the best thing this fool and his dodgy compatriots is for them all to resign and move out of this borough and never to return...[/p][/quote]They too busy riding the gravy train taffygwent
  • Score: 5

6:03pm Sat 9 Aug 14

Bobevans says...

Should education be managed at a local level? It would be far more sensible to manage it on a regional level with say 5 Regional education authorities for Wales
Should education be managed at a local level? It would be far more sensible to manage it on a regional level with say 5 Regional education authorities for Wales Bobevans
  • Score: 4

7:13pm Sat 9 Aug 14

Abertillery29 says...

Education, at all levels, has been failing in the Blaenau Gwent area for many many years and for the vast majority of this time it has been shackled by Labour party dogma. When I left school many years ago most young people leaving were literate and numerate and had far better people skills than now. You cannot blame the youngsters for this its the system that is driving down standards. You cannot educate children if you do not put the building blocks in place. The Leader of the council should be thoroughly ashamed.
Education, at all levels, has been failing in the Blaenau Gwent area for many many years and for the vast majority of this time it has been shackled by Labour party dogma. When I left school many years ago most young people leaving were literate and numerate and had far better people skills than now. You cannot blame the youngsters for this its the system that is driving down standards. You cannot educate children if you do not put the building blocks in place. The Leader of the council should be thoroughly ashamed. Abertillery29
  • Score: 4

9:18pm Sat 9 Aug 14

Aquarius says...

scraptheWAG wrote:
DOWNTHEPIT wrote:
it's not just education that needs sorting out.....every department needs overhauling ....i'm sorry but this council is destroying blaenau gwent it's about time the welsh assembly came in + took over the running of every thing if not i think that blaenau gwent council could be in danger of going bust. i have voted labour all my life but never again.
voted labour alll your life I think this is the mentality why wales is in the state its in!
Sadly scrapthe WAG is right.

I would never vote Tory in my life and have voted for Labour most years. But people really have to consider voting for another party next time round, and in local elections too. Labour are ruining Wales - not just the local councils but the Welsh Government too.

Its not just in BG; look at Torfaen where you have Bob Wellington and co who have been voted in automatically for years just because they parade under a red flag. These people have NOTHING in common with the people that vote for them and are in it for three reasons. To benefit themselves, their families and their mates.

And don't expect support from the WG - they're quietly encouraging these useless, self interested people.

I'm not sure that any of the alternatives would be much better (certainly not the Tories) but these people need to be given a boot up the backside straight out of office. Remember that in the rest of Wales, their support is much flakier.
[quote][p][bold]scraptheWAG[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]DOWNTHEPIT[/bold] wrote: it's not just education that needs sorting out.....every department needs overhauling ....i'm sorry but this council is destroying blaenau gwent it's about time the welsh assembly came in + took over the running of every thing if not i think that blaenau gwent council could be in danger of going bust. i have voted labour all my life but never again.[/p][/quote]voted labour alll your life I think this is the mentality why wales is in the state its in![/p][/quote]Sadly scrapthe WAG is right. I would never vote Tory in my life and have voted for Labour most years. But people really have to consider voting for another party next time round, and in local elections too. Labour are ruining Wales - not just the local councils but the Welsh Government too. Its not just in BG; look at Torfaen where you have Bob Wellington and co who have been voted in automatically for years just because they parade under a red flag. These people have NOTHING in common with the people that vote for them and are in it for three reasons. To benefit themselves, their families and their mates. And don't expect support from the WG - they're quietly encouraging these useless, self interested people. I'm not sure that any of the alternatives would be much better (certainly not the Tories) but these people need to be given a boot up the backside straight out of office. Remember that in the rest of Wales, their support is much flakier. Aquarius
  • Score: 4

10:14pm Sat 9 Aug 14

Abertillery29 says...

I missed something off my previous posting on this issue. Councillor McCarthy had a first class education so why is he hell bent on denying it to the youngsters now coming through the education system in Blaenau Gwent.
I missed something off my previous posting on this issue. Councillor McCarthy had a first class education so why is he hell bent on denying it to the youngsters now coming through the education system in Blaenau Gwent. Abertillery29
  • Score: -1

7:02am Sun 10 Aug 14

indy2012 says...

Aquarius wrote:
scraptheWAG wrote:
DOWNTHEPIT wrote:
it's not just education that needs sorting out.....every department needs overhauling ....i'm sorry but this council is destroying blaenau gwent it's about time the welsh assembly came in + took over the running of every thing if not i think that blaenau gwent council could be in danger of going bust. i have voted labour all my life but never again.
voted labour alll your life I think this is the mentality why wales is in the state its in!
Sadly scrapthe WAG is right.

I would never vote Tory in my life and have voted for Labour most years. But people really have to consider voting for another party next time round, and in local elections too. Labour are ruining Wales - not just the local councils but the Welsh Government too.

Its not just in BG; look at Torfaen where you have Bob Wellington and co who have been voted in automatically for years just because they parade under a red flag. These people have NOTHING in common with the people that vote for them and are in it for three reasons. To benefit themselves, their families and their mates.

And don't expect support from the WG - they're quietly encouraging these useless, self interested people.

I'm not sure that any of the alternatives would be much better (certainly not the Tories) but these people need to be given a boot up the backside straight out of office. Remember that in the rest of Wales, their support is much flakier.
Brian Mawby the failed executive member for education in Blaenau Gwent was sacked by them, where is he now,under Bob Wellingtons wing as the executive member for education in Torfaen, his reward for failure.People of Torfaen you must wise up and put a stop to this, you have a vote,use it wisely.
[quote][p][bold]Aquarius[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]scraptheWAG[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]DOWNTHEPIT[/bold] wrote: it's not just education that needs sorting out.....every department needs overhauling ....i'm sorry but this council is destroying blaenau gwent it's about time the welsh assembly came in + took over the running of every thing if not i think that blaenau gwent council could be in danger of going bust. i have voted labour all my life but never again.[/p][/quote]voted labour alll your life I think this is the mentality why wales is in the state its in![/p][/quote]Sadly scrapthe WAG is right. I would never vote Tory in my life and have voted for Labour most years. But people really have to consider voting for another party next time round, and in local elections too. Labour are ruining Wales - not just the local councils but the Welsh Government too. Its not just in BG; look at Torfaen where you have Bob Wellington and co who have been voted in automatically for years just because they parade under a red flag. These people have NOTHING in common with the people that vote for them and are in it for three reasons. To benefit themselves, their families and their mates. And don't expect support from the WG - they're quietly encouraging these useless, self interested people. I'm not sure that any of the alternatives would be much better (certainly not the Tories) but these people need to be given a boot up the backside straight out of office. Remember that in the rest of Wales, their support is much flakier.[/p][/quote]Brian Mawby the failed executive member for education in Blaenau Gwent was sacked by them, where is he now,under Bob Wellingtons wing as the executive member for education in Torfaen, his reward for failure.People of Torfaen you must wise up and put a stop to this, you have a vote,use it wisely. indy2012
  • Score: 1

1:52pm Sun 10 Aug 14

gingertom says...

It's only high paid executives get rewarded for poor behaviour as indy 2012 points out:

Brian Mawby the failed executive member for education in Blaenau Gwent was sacked by them, where is he now,under Bob Wellingtons wing as the executive member for education in Torfaen, his reward for failure.People of Torfaen you must wise up and put a stop to this, you have a vote,use it wisely.

Just look at mark drakeford who has just promoted andrew goodall who was CEO at royal gwent and neville hall hospital. C-diff has been in the royal gwent for years and they cannot get rid of it. Gwent is the highest for heart disease and if you want anything major done you have to go to cardiff to get it done.

High paid executives fail time and time again but always land up with a high paid job elsewhere, why???
It's only high paid executives get rewarded for poor behaviour as indy 2012 points out: Brian Mawby the failed executive member for education in Blaenau Gwent was sacked by them, where is he now,under Bob Wellingtons wing as the executive member for education in Torfaen, his reward for failure.People of Torfaen you must wise up and put a stop to this, you have a vote,use it wisely. Just look at mark drakeford who has just promoted andrew goodall who was CEO at royal gwent and neville hall hospital. C-diff has been in the royal gwent for years and they cannot get rid of it. Gwent is the highest for heart disease and if you want anything major done you have to go to cardiff to get it done. High paid executives fail time and time again but always land up with a high paid job elsewhere, why??? gingertom
  • Score: 2

10:23am Mon 11 Aug 14

temperate says...

Always, always remember, the Labour assembly has starved Welsh education of funds, not by accident but by determined purpose. In 1999 Welsh children received £68 less than those in England, in 2012 they received £604 less.

This did not happen by accident, Labour determinedly refused to uplift funding. Today we see the result.

Education is failing, this feeds into the economy which is also failing. My very real worry is, no one cares, South East Wales will never, it seems say the the Labour party, "enough is enough". The assembly has failed every competence given to it by Westminster, but South East Wales is still a safe Labour block.

Until that changes, just get used to poor education, poor health, poor ambulance service, poor economic conditions, poor democratic provision and most damaging poor political representation. From poor councillors and Am's to poor MP's.

Apathy is the enemy of democracy, many millions have died for a free vote, use that inalienable right and change what you find offensive.

Its your life and your responsibility to your children.

Temperate
Always, always remember, the Labour assembly has starved Welsh education of funds, not by accident but by determined purpose. In 1999 Welsh children received £68 less than those in England, in 2012 they received £604 less. This did not happen by accident, Labour determinedly refused to uplift funding. Today we see the result. Education is failing, this feeds into the economy which is also failing. My very real worry is, no one cares, South East Wales will never, it seems say the the Labour party, "enough is enough". The assembly has failed every competence given to it by Westminster, but South East Wales is still a safe Labour block. Until that changes, just get used to poor education, poor health, poor ambulance service, poor economic conditions, poor democratic provision and most damaging poor political representation. From poor councillors and Am's to poor MP's. Apathy is the enemy of democracy, many millions have died for a free vote, use that inalienable right and change what you find offensive. Its your life and your responsibility to your children. Temperate temperate
  • Score: 3

11:25am Tue 12 Aug 14

coalpicker says...

indy2012 wrote:
Aquarius wrote:
scraptheWAG wrote:
DOWNTHEPIT wrote:
it's not just education that needs sorting out.....every department needs overhauling ....i'm sorry but this council is destroying blaenau gwent it's about time the welsh assembly came in + took over the running of every thing if not i think that blaenau gwent council could be in danger of going bust. i have voted labour all my life but never again.
voted labour alll your life I think this is the mentality why wales is in the state its in!
Sadly scrapthe WAG is right.

I would never vote Tory in my life and have voted for Labour most years. But people really have to consider voting for another party next time round, and in local elections too. Labour are ruining Wales - not just the local councils but the Welsh Government too.

Its not just in BG; look at Torfaen where you have Bob Wellington and co who have been voted in automatically for years just because they parade under a red flag. These people have NOTHING in common with the people that vote for them and are in it for three reasons. To benefit themselves, their families and their mates.

And don't expect support from the WG - they're quietly encouraging these useless, self interested people.

I'm not sure that any of the alternatives would be much better (certainly not the Tories) but these people need to be given a boot up the backside straight out of office. Remember that in the rest of Wales, their support is much flakier.
Brian Mawby the failed executive member for education in Blaenau Gwent was sacked by them, where is he now,under Bob Wellingtons wing as the executive member for education in Torfaen, his reward for failure.People of Torfaen you must wise up and put a stop to this, you have a vote,use it wisely.
The dissolution of the county council is undoubtedly the reason for most of
current local authority problems, Brian Mawby a very nice man is a case in point ,a fifth or sixth level county officer given the top education job and this was the sort of problem right across the five elevated authorities in just about every department ,now the welsh assembly are considering reinstating the county structure in various areas of local government .
The whole restructuring was a very costly exercise, again the tax payer has paid the bill in every facet of the exercise. The Labour party at national level was fully involved and acquiescent in this disaster .
[quote][p][bold]indy2012[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Aquarius[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]scraptheWAG[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]DOWNTHEPIT[/bold] wrote: it's not just education that needs sorting out.....every department needs overhauling ....i'm sorry but this council is destroying blaenau gwent it's about time the welsh assembly came in + took over the running of every thing if not i think that blaenau gwent council could be in danger of going bust. i have voted labour all my life but never again.[/p][/quote]voted labour alll your life I think this is the mentality why wales is in the state its in![/p][/quote]Sadly scrapthe WAG is right. I would never vote Tory in my life and have voted for Labour most years. But people really have to consider voting for another party next time round, and in local elections too. Labour are ruining Wales - not just the local councils but the Welsh Government too. Its not just in BG; look at Torfaen where you have Bob Wellington and co who have been voted in automatically for years just because they parade under a red flag. These people have NOTHING in common with the people that vote for them and are in it for three reasons. To benefit themselves, their families and their mates. And don't expect support from the WG - they're quietly encouraging these useless, self interested people. I'm not sure that any of the alternatives would be much better (certainly not the Tories) but these people need to be given a boot up the backside straight out of office. Remember that in the rest of Wales, their support is much flakier.[/p][/quote]Brian Mawby the failed executive member for education in Blaenau Gwent was sacked by them, where is he now,under Bob Wellingtons wing as the executive member for education in Torfaen, his reward for failure.People of Torfaen you must wise up and put a stop to this, you have a vote,use it wisely.[/p][/quote]The dissolution of the county council is undoubtedly the reason for most of current local authority problems, Brian Mawby a very nice man is a case in point ,a fifth or sixth level county officer given the top education job and this was the sort of problem right across the five elevated authorities in just about every department ,now the welsh assembly are considering reinstating the county structure in various areas of local government . The whole restructuring was a very costly exercise, again the tax payer has paid the bill in every facet of the exercise. The Labour party at national level was fully involved and acquiescent in this disaster . coalpicker
  • Score: 0

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