BLAENAU Gwent education chiefs are confident that a secondary school will be brought out of Estyn special measures soon.

At a Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council Place scrutiny committee meeting on Monday, November 13, councillors were given an update on the the work being done to improve both Brynmawr Foundation secondary school and The River Centre River Centre 3-16 Learning Community to bring them out of special measures.

In 2019 Estyn inspected Brynmawr Foundation School and they were put into special measures.

Since then, the school has been working to address the four recommendations Estyn gave it.

At the meeting, interim director of education, Lisa Munro-Morris explained that Estyn are now using now different more positive language about the school.

Dr Munro-Morris said: “The school has been re-visited on a number of occasions since 2019 and Estyn provide a report at the end of those visits.

“We have seen a real shift in the language used in those reports and the way Estyn view the school.

“Whereas they were talking for a long time about a few pupils making progress or examples of (good) teaching in a few lessons – it’s now talking about most and many.”

“So, we are confident that the school is going to be coming out of the Estyn (special measures) category in the near future.”

She explained that the school is due another visit from Estyn before Christmas.

As part ot the improvement process, Brynmawr school had also been subject to a statutory warning notice issued by the council.

Dr Munro-Morris explained: “We wanted evidence from the school of improvements.

“The key stage four (GCSE) results that Brynmawr received were very good, and above target and the Estyn visit in the summer was largely positive.”

“As a consequence of that, and we want to show Estyn that we recognise the school has made significant improvement, the warning notice was removed in September.”

Dr Munro-Morris explained that Brynmawr is still subject to “team around the school” meetings which take place every half term with the council’s education officers and “key partners.”

Committee chairman, Cllr Tommy Smith said: “Can we have assurances that the local authority will be providing additional support to ensure there are no surprises when Estyn come back.”

Dr Munro-Morris said that this help would “absolutely” be given.

Cllr Carl Bainton said: “The report was really encouraging and it’s really good that we’re going in the right direction and Estyn recognises that as well.

The River Centre is an all-through special school across three campuses in Ebbw Vale and Tredegar.

It was placed into special measures following an inspection last year.

The report said: “The school was subject to an Estyn re-visit in May and that the school is focusing on the right things to develop first.”

The report explained that the River Centre is only just starting on its “improvement journey.

Councillors approved the report, and their comments will be added to the report which is set to be presented to the Cabinet at a meeting on November 29.