ONE of Wrexham’s two ‘super schools’ has been placed under special measures.
Education watchdog Estyn put Ysgol Clywedog, on Ruthin Road, into the category after an inspection in January.
Ten recommendations were made after it was decided the school had not made enough progress in addressing recommendations made in the last inspection, in 2008.
Among the issues raised were concerns over exam results, leadership and the quality of teaching at the school.
Estyn will now monitor the school every term and a post-inspection action plan will have to be prepared.
Ysgol Clywedog was one of two super schools created under controversial plans by Wrexham Council, along with Rhosnesni High School.
More than £22m was spent on merging the former Bryn Offa, St David’s and Groves schools into two new ones, with Clywedog opening at its current site in 2005 and Rhosnesni in 2004.
A letter was sent to parents of children attending Ysgol Clywedog by headteacher Martin Hulland on Friday to inform them the school had been placed under special measures.
Speaking to the Leader, Mr Hulland, who has been in the post since September, blamed the school’s previous regime for the failings highlighted in the Estyn report.
He said both he and the school’s new deputy head, Amanda Harrison, have already done a lot of work to raise standards.
The report did say that since their appointment, the school has received “strong and purposeful leadership”.
Mr Hulland said: “When Estyn came I had only been in the post for about 16 weeks and Amanda only a few weeks.
“We knew it was going to be a challenging inspection.
“We’re not responsible for the previous set of exam results and we’ve set about transforming the school since we came in.
“Key areas highlighted within the report were that examination results were not good enough.
“There is a deficit issue but that is being addressed and changes have been made.
“It was also about the quality of teaching and past issues with leadership.
“But they didn’t tell us anything we didn’t know.”
Mr Hulland said some progress had already been made in addressing the issues raised.
“If you look at the figures since September, attendance is up and fixed term exclusions are down by 80 per cent,” he said.
“A new curriculum has been implemented with an emphasis on teaching and giving pupils more choice.
“Estyn pointed out discipline was good and the children were safe.
“We’re 100 per cent confident we can turn this around.”
Ysgol Clywedog has recently appointed a new chairman of the board of governors as well as a vice chairman.
Mr Hulland also plans to hold a forum for parents to address their concerns.
He added: “I’m very grateful for the support I’ve received from staff, pupils and parents who have bought into what we’re trying to do here at Clywedog.
“We’ll come out of this stronger and we will make the difficult decisions that will bring the school forward.”
Deputy headteacher Amanda Harrison said: “I think the term to describe this school would be as a sleeping giant.
“There is a huge amount of potential and this is why we are here.
“We’ve asked the governors to challenge us and to take the role very seriously.
“The new curriculum is much more modern and fit for purpose and pupils have been given free rein on their choices.
The full Estyn report will be published on its website on Tuesday, March 26.
Cllr Michael Williams, Wrexham Council’s lead member for children’s services and education, said: “As a local authority we have had concerns about performance at Ysgol Clywedog for some time and we have challenged and supported the school to make improvements.
“We shared our concerns with Estyn prior to their recent inspection of the school.
“We will continue to work with the school in the coming months to secure the further improvements necessary.
“We recognise robust action must be taken in order to ensure pupils in Wrexham have access to the best quality education.”