Newport and Blaenau Gwent Councils to share education chief
TWO Gwent councils will share an education chief in line with plans to get local authorities working more closely.
Newport council's cabinet members last month agreed to create a joint post with Blaenau Gwent council from February 1.
There is currently no chief education officer or director in Blaenau Gwent, which means there will be no redundancies.
The person who fills the role will split their time between the two councils on a 50/50 basis.
Depending on the needs of on authority at any particular time, it may be more or less, but on average their time will be split equally and they will have a base at both authorities.
Newport council said the move came after education minister Leighton Andrews made clear he wanted to see a reduction in the number of chief officers for education across Welsh authorities.
A spokeswoman for the authority said: "The decision has to be seen in the context of closer consortium working across education authorities in Wales and the emphasis for more collaborative working.
"It is about ensuring best practice is spread more widely across authorities. Newport is one of the best education authorities in Wales and continues to share and search for best practice with others and we anticipate that this will be one of the outcomes from this collaboration."
The two councils are already working together alongside Caerphilly, Torfaen and Monmouthshire through the newly created Education Achievement Service, which aims to drive up standards by sharing good practice.
This came after Blaenau Gwent council's education department was put into special measures in November 2011 after Estyn inspectors found it was failing pupils.
Commissioners were brought in to take over but last month education minister Leighton Andrews said things had improved and two advisory commissioners have been removed in place of one.