Joint Newport and Blaenau Gwent education chief appointed
4:34pm Tuesday 5th March 2013 in Gwent news
A JOINT chief education officer has been appointed for Newport and Blaenau Gwent councils.
James Harris, who has run the department at Newport council for the past two years, took up the post on February 1 after the move was approved by both authorities.
This new role recognises the national and regional agendas for closer working between councils on education issues and will help in the drive to employ best practice to improve the pupil's performance.
Mr Harris became Newport's chief education officer two years ago having joined the authority in April 2006 as head of planning and resources in education.
Before that he was head of skills and learning at the south west of England Regional Development Agency.
He was a civil servant for 24 years in roles as diverse as an unemployment benefit office manager, senior consultant for the Foreign Office in Armenia, drafted legislation for benefit payments to redundant mineworkers for the Department of Employment and was also a youth training team assessor.
Outside work he has a keen interest in sport and has previously competed in ultra-marathons and the 2012 UK Iron Man.
Dr. Brett Pugh, who was previously chief education officer, has started a new role a head of the standards and delivery division in the Welsh Government, a role he has been fulfilling on secondment for the last two years.
Blaenau Gwent’s previous chief education officer, Sylvia Lyndoe retired in August 2012, seven months after the authority was place in special measures after a critical Estyn report which said it was failing.
Commissioners too over its running and a reinspection has been completed, the results of which are expected next week.