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Estyn recognises schools’ improvements across SE Wales
Estyn recognises schools’ improvements across SE Wales

A report published today recognises improvements made by schools in the South East Wales region over the past four years to improve outcomes for learners. 

In its report, Estyn - the inspectorate service for education and training in Wales - acknowledges the collective work since September 2012 by the Education Achievement Service (EAS), the school improvement service that serves five local authorities - Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport, and Torfaen.  This is reflected in the judgements awarded for the five indicators within the inspection framework; school improvement, leadership, improving quality, partner working and resource management.

The report notes that;

‘The rate of improvement in pupils’ outcomes in South East Wales in a majority of indicators at key stage 4 has been faster than that across Wales as a whole over the last three years.” and “The EAS deploys challenge advisers effectively.  There is a clear protocol for their work, proportionate to schools’ needs.’

Paul Matthews, lead Chief Executive for the region commented: “I’m pleased but not surprised with this very positive outcome.  Standards across the region have seen significant improvement over the last couple of years and this is in part due to the focus that the Education Achievement Service has brought to pupil level outcomes in every single school.  The five councils that make up the region took a bold decision several years ago to move services into a company structure.  This decision is proving to be a good one and I expect to see further improvements in outcomes for young people this summer and in the years ahead.  We are in a good place but we are not complacent.  I want all of these ‘Good’ judgements converting to ‘Excellent’ over the next couple of years.”

EAS Managing Director, Debbie Harteveld added: “I speak on behalf of myself, the Company Board and Members of the Joint Executive Group when I say that we welcome the Estyn report which largely reflects our own view of our strengths and areas for improvement.  We recognise the work of the dedicated staff within the EAS, local authorities, our school community and wider partners throughout the region who have worked tirelessly to improve life chances for our learners in South East Wales. 
“We are pleased that the strong vision and values across the region have been recognised and that the various strategies for building capacity within the school system are understood and continue to embed.  Effective communication and clear lines of accountability have been a key feature of our work and the report makes reference to this when it notes:
‘The EAS has developed into a well-led company that provides good education services on behalf of the five local authorities that commission it.  The company has a clear vision as strong values that underpin its work.  These are understood and shared by internal staff and stakeholders including schools, local authority officers and elected members’
“We will continue to build upon the momentum for improvement that exists within the region and work to collectively address the recommendations identified within the report.  The report further notes that:
‘Leaders in the EAS and the local authorities have developed trusting relationships that allow for effective mutual challenge of each other’s work. This means that barriers to the successful delivery of the business plan are addressed quickly.’
“We know that there is further to go to reduce variability in standards in secondary schools in particular; and this area remains a significant priority for us. We are confident that collectively we can continue to deliver sustained improvements and strive to provide the best outcomes for all learners.”
For more information on the EAS visit: www.sewales.org.uk/

A full copy of the inspection report can be found on the Estyn website: http://www.estyn.gov.uk/english/provider/CONS001


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