BLAENAU Gwent Council has appointed a new Corporate Director of Education as part of its drive to raise educational standards and improve outcomes for learners of all ages.

The council’s joint working arrangement with Newport council, which saw it share a joint chief education officer and other management resources, came to an end earlier this year, with an interim director of education currently leading the service.

Newport council told Blaenau Gwent in December 2013 it wanted to withdraw from the partnership arrangement.

A spokeswoman said: "The council advertised the post nationally in order to attract the best candidates and, following a competitive process and the endorsement of full council, successfully appointed Lynette Jones."

Mrs Jones is currently the head of school improvement and inclusion with the Vale of Glamorgan council. She is also a trained Estyn inspector for local authority education services for children and young people and chaired the functional design team for the new central south consortium joint education service.

Mrs Jones will take up the post later in September and will manage the education department’s senior leadership team and work with partners, including the South East Wales education achievement service, to build on the progress already made, including raising standards in schools, supporting pupils with additional learning needs, further developing partnerships to improve the wellbeing of children and young people, improving school attendance levels, reducing the level of young people Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) and continuing to improve school buildings and access to school places.

David Waggett, chief executive of Blaenau Gwent council said: "Raising standards and improving outcomes, and ultimately making our way out of special measures, remains the top priority for this council. It was vital that we have a Corporate Director of Education to lead this important work and to build on the improvements already made through the partnership work with Newport. We all look forward to working with Lynette and welcoming her to her new role at the council this summer.”

Mrs Jones said: “As you can imagine I am looking forward to joining Blaenau Gwent council as corporate director of education. It will be a tremendous responsibility and pleasure to lead the department in the months and years ahead, to ensure the very real success of local learners. I am delighted to be working with the council to ensure that high quality learning is available to everyone.”