‘More work needed’ by Blaenau Gwent education - minister
MUCH important work remains to be done if a valleys council is to regain control of its education department, the minister in charge has said.
But Wales' education minister Leighton Andrews said considerable efforts have been made by staff in Blaenau Gwent to make change happen, despite a slow start.
A monitoring inspection carried out by assessors Estyn last month found that although the direction of travel towards improvement is broadly right, much important work remains to be done by the local authority if it is to have a sustainable future.
Inspectors visited the department last month but did not make any judgements on its current performance or prospects.
They will carry out a full re-inspection early next year and will report back on each of the eight areas that need improving, with a view to handing the department back to the council if and when appropriate.
A spokeswoman for Blaenau Gwent Council said the authority was making progress towards improving the literacy and numeracy of all pupils, school attendance is on the up and early indications show improvements in key stage 2 and 3.
She said: "We are resolute in our determination to continue to do more and to ensure that the improvements are sustainable, and there are many exciting developments coming forward this year. These include the opening of the multi-million Coleg Gwent post-16 education facility, the Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone, as well as our state-of-the-art 3-16 school.
"We are also collaborating with other local authorities to establish an education achievement service, and to provide school improvement services focussed on helping children to achieve more at school."
Education commissioners took over the running of Blaenau Gwent’s education department last September after an inspection found it was failing.
They provide monthly written reports on their work and have quarterly meetings with the minister.