Scrutiny councillors given 'Improving Schools' Programme update

Members of the Council’s Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee have been given an update on the Blaenau Gwent Improving Schools Programme.

A report presented to the meeting outlined the progress made, particularly the four schools currently receiving additional improvement support.

Earlier this year the Welsh Government consulted on its new ‘School Improvement Guidance: Framework for evaluation, improvement and accountability’.

This aims to:

• Strengthen the importance and effectiveness of self-evaluation and improvement planning by schools, which draws on a broad range of evidence;
• Focus on schools’ self-evaluations and improvement priorities as the starting point for work with local authorities and regional consortia;
• Consider school performance in its widest sense, with schools evaluated in their own context, supported by a broad range of evidence, bespoke improvement planning and support;
• Ensure that the school’s self-evaluation processes identify areas of strengths and priorities for improvement, which are drawn together in a single, strategic school development plan;
• Build on schools’ self-evaluations and development plans to work with local authorities and regional consortia to agree the additional support they need to improve; and,
• Identify where schools have strengths and capacity to collaborate with other schools to support them.

As a result, all schools in Blaenau Gwent will now have a professional discussion with the Council; the South East Wales Education Achievement Service and other partners to focus on the school’s priorities for improvement; the support it requires and to identify good practice to share with other schools.

During the delivery period of this pilot approach, the views of schools will be regularly gathered, to inform practice moving forward.

Councillor Joanne Collins, the Council’s Executive Member for Education says:

“Our schools in Blaenau Gwent are performing very well overall, and we remain fully committed to working closely with school leaders and our partners in the Education Achievement Service to ensure that children and young people in Blaenau Gwent are accessing the quality teaching and learning they deserve in order to reach their full potential.

“We welcome this new approach from the Welsh Government to stronger school self-evaluation and improvement planning and especially the school to school working, as this collaboration is something we have been working on in Blaenau Gwent already which has hugely benefitted several of our schools.”

You can read the full report to Scrutiny here.