The Estyn report on Carmarthenshire Education Services, published today – September 27, commends Carmarthenshire County Council for its clear vision, which has a robust impact on improving education provision and learner outcomes.
The report states that safeguarding children and young people is a corporate priority for the Council and is considered a responsibility for all in the authority. Through wellbeing evaluations in schools, it was found that most pupils showed positive attitudes towards their learning, felt safe at school, and knew how to stay safe online. Pupil behaviour was also identified as a strong characteristic in general.
It was recognised in the report that the County’s Education Services had purposive arrangements in place to ensure additional learning needs were identified early and that suitable provision was in place for the pupils who need it in order to meet those needs.
There was praise for the way schools, youth services, authority staff and external agencies work closely to offer strong support to vulnerable pupils. It was also reported that the Council is alert to the growing challenge that exists in reducing the inequalities faced by children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The report also recognises that the authority has competent leaders and robust procedures in place to enable the Council to realise its priorities and make further improvements into the future. It was noted that an effective and conscientious team of staff has been developed that models and promotes professional values and behaviours in order to contribute positively towards effective collaboration between staff, schools and partners.
The report shows that Carmarthenshire’s school reorganisation processes are robust, and working closely with a good range of external partners was pinpointed as a strong element. One of the strongest features of the Council’s school reorganisation strategy is its work to expand Welsh-medium provision in urban areas of the county.
There was praise for the Council’s actions to refine provision to support and improve behaviour within schools, with strong strategic direction in existence for this work. The report notes that the authority has a clear vision for providing behavioural support to schools, pupils and their families and that there is a clear commitment to improving pupil attendance with strong progress in many schools.
Among the other positive points included in the report are:
- School staff have access to a wide range of relevant professional learning.
- The Council appropriately identifies the strengths and areas for improvement within primary schools.
- The local authority provides a valuable range of support and assistance to governors.
- Officers have a firm understanding of the specific needs of ALN children and young people in Carmarthenshire.
Reference was also made to the prioritisation of funding for education by the County Council, by noting that leaders have a good understanding of their financial situation within the education service and are aware of the financial challenges. Education and school services budgets have been protected over the past four years by Carmarthenshire County Council.
Cabinet Member for Education and Welsh Language, Cllr Glynog Davies said: “I am extremely proud of the commendable work of Carmarthenshire’s Education Services and grateful for the efforts of all our staff, schools and pupils recognised in this thorough report by Estyn.
“In Carmarthenshire, our vision and strategic leadership are clear and distinct, so that we can provide the best possible education for our children and young people, and I look forward to pushing ahead and realising our plans.”