Vale Council given seal of approval by education inspectors

08 January 2016

The Vale of Glamorgan Council has made significant improvements since 2013 according to Estyn, the schools inspectorate.

The Council was found have made the highest levels of progress possible towards the recommendations made by Estyn three years ago, receiving the top two grades – either ‘strong’ or ‘very good’ – for their work towards each of the six.

The local authority oversees 59 schools across the Vale. Earlier this year many of these celebrated not only their best ever exam results but also some of the highest levels of achievement in Wales.

Following on from this, the Council has now been judged to have made strong progress in raising school standards. In their findings it is noted by the inspectors that performance at key stages two, three, and four have all improved at a rate greater than the Welsh average and that GCSE performance is now the second highest in Wales.

Elsewhere in the report very good performance was judged to have been made in improving the rigour and level of challenge provided to schools about their performance and quality of leadership, and in ensuring that planning for improvement is thorough and consistent.

Estyn also found that strong progress was being made in the use of the full powers available to the authority to improve schools that are underperforming, ensuring that robust systems are in place for evaluating the outcomes of initiatives and that they demonstrate good value-for-money, and in strengthening arrangements for monitoring and evaluating the wellbeing of children and young people.

Cllr Chris Elmore, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Schools, welcomed the report, saying: “I am nothing short of delighted at the progress that has been made since 2013. The inspectors’ findings are the result of three years of very hard work by the Council’s Learning and Skills team and a testament to their efforts.

“It is the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s ambition to make education outcomes in the Vale not only the best in Wales but on a par with any in the UK. This report shows that we are well on our way to making this a reality.”

A team of four inspectors had been tasked with reviewing the Council’s progress against the six recommendations. As well as scrutinising documentation the team visited the authority for a week in November to interview councillors, senior managers and staff, as well as groups of headteachers and governors. Their final assessment was published on 07 January 2016. Following the review the Council will no longer require monitoring by Estyn.