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Swansea education rated adequate by watchdog

23/09/2013 Joanna
Wales' education watchdog has said Swansea council is doing a reasonable job of supporting local primary and secondary teachers, but has the potential to do more.

Following an inspection, Estyn deemed the local authority's education services to be 'adequate', highlighting a number of achievements it has facilitated in schools within the city and wider county.

For example, performance in secondary schools is good and there have been steady improvements at key stages two, three and four, while over the past the two years Swansea has met all Welsh government benchmarks for attainment based on free-school-meal entitlement.

Yet although much has been done to improve attendance in Swansea's secondary schools, truanting in the local authority's primary schools is still well above average.

Moreover, Estyn warned too many schools in Swansea identified as in need of improvement do not do so quickly enough, with several currently in categories of concern.

The watchdog was though optimistic about the capacity for improvement in Swansea's education services, which it rated as 'good', praising the local authority's strong leadership, vision for educational provision and track record of implementing change quickly.

It also praised the council's data gathering, corporate mechanisms for monitoring performance, history of working well in partnerships, and deployment of resources.

Councillor Will Evans, Swansea's cabinet member for learning and skills, responded: "It is very satisfying to see how Esytn recognises that the council is showing strong leadership and that they see improvement coming through as a result.

"Our vision for education is focussed on improving outcomes for children and young people and it is pleasing to see that Estyn recognises our commitment to tackling poverty is not just making rapid progress, but making a difference as well."

The council is now drawing up an action plan based on the watchdog's recommendations, including introducing a strategy to improve levels of attendance in primary schools and improving evaluation to ensure underperforming schools are identified and supported quickly.

Swansea is the tenth Welsh local authority to be rated as 'adequate' by Estyn to date, while as yet none have been deemed 'excellent', but six have been branded 'inadequate'.

Posted by Harriet McGowanADNFCR-2164-ID-801640919-ADNFCR
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