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Torfaen’s education councillor says there ‘should be no shocks’ when the council gives its action plan to Estyn in September

The Civic Centre in Pontypool
Torfaen Council's Civic Centre

Torfaen Council’s councillor in charge of education has said there “should be no shocks” when the council gives its post-inspection action plan to Estyn in September. In June a critical report found the council is “a local authority causing significant concern” due to shortcomings in secondary school performance.

Cllr Richard Clark, executive member for education, told councillors last week that local Estyn inspectors would be working with the council as they prepare the action plan ready to be presented to Wales’ education watchdog in two months.

At the council’s recent full meeting Cllr David Thomas, Llantarnam Ward, asked: “Could you provide members with a brief report on the outcome of the meeting with the local authority’s Estyn link inspectors which happened on the 17th of June?”

Cllr Richard Clark, executive member for education, said: “The meeting, as you said, took place on Friday the 17th (June) and was attended by our chief executive, chief education officer, his deputy, the managing director of the EAS and our Estyn local link inspectors .”

“Discussion was in three specific areas.

“The need for root and branch change in the culture of the team and wider organisation around evaluation and the impact of the work undertaken. How officers are held to account at all levels routinely and how this work informs future planning and discussions around that will shape our post-inspection action plan (PIAP).

“The second element was other authorities who are facing similar circumstances and Estyn advisors to reach out to those authorities. I can advise you that the chief education officer had already reached out to Wrexham which had found itself in a similar situation. But we won’t be exclusive, we will work with anybody who is under these circumstances. We will look at good practice there and take that on board.

“And then the third aspect is the follow-up activities.

“So although we are not submitting the post-inspection action plan until the conference in September, which is the follow-up activity. They have kindly agreed, our local inspectors, that they will go through the PIAP with us, look at the work we are doing and guide us on the way so there should be no shocks in September because we will hopefully be going through the correct process by that time.

“And obviously in September I’ll come back to members and advise you what’s happened then and if there is any update in the meantime I will advise members of those.”

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Torfaen’s education councillor says there ‘should be no shocks’ when the council gives its action plan to Estyn in September