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Cyngor Gwynedd welcomes Estyn report following inspection of Gwynedd Education Services

Cyngor Gwynedd has welcomed a positive report from Estyn – the national education inspectorate – on the quality of the Local Authority’s education services for children and young people.

In the report, the inspectors state that the aim of Cyngor Gwynedd’s leadership is to ensure the best start for children and young people in the county and education is a clear priority in the Council’s plans. The report also points out that the principle of putting the needs of residents at the heart of their work is a main driver for the authority’s education officers and teaching staff.

The report was published following a detailed inspection of Gwynedd’s education arrangements and procedures at all levels, including data analysis, consultation with officers and elected members of the Council, and looking at survey results conducted with pupils and their families.

Some of the highlights of the report are:

  • Promoting the Welsh language is a clear priority for the authority and the education service, with reference is made to –
  • The extensive investment to provide Welsh-medium and bilingual education and experiences for all children and young people in the county,
  • the success of the immersion centres,
  • a range of valuable Welsh-medium resources have been developed by the authority’s staff, particularly the Welsh-language resources for pupils with additional learning needs and their families.
  • Provision for pupils with social, emotional, and behavioural difficulties has strengthened over recent years.
  • Reference is made to the productive relationship between the Education Authority and GwE, the regional effectiveness and improvement service for schools in north Wales.
  • The welfare of Gwynedd’s children and young people benefit from the support offered by the Gwynedd Education Authority’s Youth Service.
  • The authority provides a wide range of post-16 courses which respond to the linguistic and economic needs of the county.
  • There are positive examples of leaders implementing beneficial strategies that have led to improvements, including a digital strategy, the modernising schools and strengthening the immersion provision.

Councillor Beca Brown, Cyngor Gwynedd’s Cabinet Member for Education, said:

“This report from Estyn is very positive and I am grateful to the inspectors for their thorough work. We can take pride in the fact that significant progress has been made in our education services since the last inspection in 2013 and I wish to congratulate all members of staff who contribute to the education of the county’s children for their commitment to our young people.

“The quality of education and the various experiences our children and young people have either in the classroom or in extra activities empower them to reach their full potential, to contribute to society and to take advantage of life’s opportunities as they grow up. So, there is no doubt in my mind how important it is to ensure that our education system reaches the expected standard and what we can do to improve it.

“I am extremely proud of the praise that Estyn also gives to the time, resources and energy that Cyngor Gwynedd invests to promoting the Welsh language with all children in Gwynedd having access to Welsh-medium and bilingual education and experiences. The report draws specific attention through a case study to the innovative work being done to develop Welsh-medium learning materials for children with additional learning needs and to our Language Centres which not only immerse new arrivals in the language but also supports all the schools in the county to develop confident Welsh speakers.”

Garem Jackson, Head of Cyngor Gwynedd’s Education Department, added:

“Since the last Estyn report back in 2013, we have seen a lot of change here at Cyngor Gwynedd but our passion to ensure the best start in life for the county’s children and young people remains constant. I am extremely proud of the content of this report, and I would like to thank the department’s officers and schools’ staff and governors from across the county for their fantastic dedication and collaboration. Thanks also to the families of our pupils for their support.

“Giving our children and young people the best possible start in life has been identified as one of the Council’s priorities in our five-year strategic plan up to 2028, so this report is testament that we are on the right track, and it will help us to continue to raise standards in every school, in every subject and in every classroom.

“Of course, there is always room for improvement, and we note the inspectors’ recommendations and indeed work has already started in the areas which have been identified where further development is needed.”

The Council is already acting on the areas of improvement that have been identified by Estyn and is actively strengthening the plans in these areas to meet the recommendations.

The full report is available here: Gwynedd Council | Estyn (gov.wales)