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Swansea’s Clydach Primary School removed from special measures by Estyn

Clydach Primary School, Clydach, Swansea (Pic: Google Maps)

A SWANSEA Valley school which was causing education inspectors concern has been given a positive report.

Estyn inspectors said Clydach Primary School had made sufficient progress to be removed from “special measures”, introduced following an inspection in November 2022 which cited significant levels of staff absence and a lack of leadership.

Special measures are applied if a school isn’t providing an acceptable standard of education and those responsible for leading, managing or governing it don’t show the capacity to improve it.

It meant Clydach primary having to come up with a plan to address five Estyn recommendations and being monitored more frequently.

An inspection last month concluded that leadership at the school was now stable, with a new headteacher conveying a clear vision. It said strong progress was being made improving pupil outcomes and that “high expectations are evident in nearly all classrooms and reflected in the confidence and professional pride staff display”.

The quality of teaching had improved and in turn the progress that pupils made, added the report, while school’s governing body was becoming increasingly effective. “In the youngest classes there has been significant progress in the provision for foundation learning,” it said. The report also said, though, there was more to do regarding the development of numeracy skills.

In 2022 there were 202 pupils on the school roll, with a quarter of them eligible for free school meals – a proportion very slightly above the national average.

Estyn’s 2022 report said pupils felt cared for by their teachers and were enthusiastic learners, but said not all of them – such as those with additional learning needs and the more able – were challenged or supported well enough. It said: “Due to significant levels of staff absence, the school does not currently have an effective leadership team.” This instability, it said, was affecting staff well-being.

The 2022 report also said an interim headteacher had been appointed and that this person was helping to improve pupils’ progress and staff well-being, notwithstanding a wider lack of leadership capacity. The report said the governing body and Swansea Council were providing additional support.

Some teachers at the school walked out on March 21 last year, resulting in its partial closure, alleging that “long-standing management failings” hadn’t been satisfactorily addressed. A further six days of strike action was planned by members of teachers’ union NASUWT but didn’t go ahead. Speaking last March the council said it was committed to giving every child the best possible chance to fulfil their potential and that it would continue to work with the school and its teachers in the interests of all pupils.

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