ESTYN recognises work to support learners during COVID Pandemic

The Council’s Executive Committee has heard how ESTYN has recognised the effective work carried out by the Council, in partnership with our schools, to support learners and their families in Blaenau Gwent during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

ESTYN – the education and training inspectorate for Wales - carried out a review into the work of the local authority in relation to education and the Pandemic during the period of June to November 2020.

The Inspectorate has produced a national Thematic Review report on their findings, which has been positive overall and locally recognises the work of the Council in four main cameo areas:

Strong Collaboration Work
Working well with colleagues from service areas right across the Council, and external partners, to respond appropriately to the needs of learners whilst adhering to Government guidelines to ensure that learning and childcare has continued effectively in Blaenau Gwent

- Vulnerable Learners
Working to support the most vulnerable learners with a wide range of particular needs. The Education Psychology Service provided support on a range of issues and worries and the Education Welfare Service continued to safely check in on identified learners and their families. Support for free school meals continued throughout

- Youth Service
Youth Service changed the ways it works to continue to support around 750 children and young people, including help with employment, finances & accommodation and supporting with emotional and physical well-being. They also provided counselling and encouraged young people to observe COVID measures and stay safe

- Digital Support
Working with IT partners to provide over 1,600 electronic devices to digitally excluded families to enable them to engage with blended learning opportunities

Corporate Director for Education, Lynn Phillips says:

“There’s no doubt that this last year has been extremely challenging for everyone, and I’m very proud of the way that the Council and our schools have responded and worked outstandingly well together, and with other key partners, to support our learners and their families, so that their educational and wellbeing support needs have continued to be met.

I am pleased that ESTYN has recognised this hard work in their report, and also that they are supportive of the work we are carrying out with the Education Achievement Service to support schools in planning for the next phase of recovery and renewal for our children and young people. We will continue to work in close collaboration with schools and this is a top priority for us.”