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Reprieve for Wrexham schools put in special measures

Published date: 03 April 2014 |
Published by: Charlie Croasdale
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TWO ‘super-schools’ placed in special measures after poor inspections are to be given a reprieve as they continue to show signs of improvement.

Following inspections by schools standards watchdog Estyn in 2013 Ysgol Clywedog and Rhosnesni High School – formed a decade ago – were placed in special measures.

Wrexham Council has been exploring three options for the future of the schools during a public consultation that began in December. One idea was combining them into a single through school for three to 16-year-olds with different phases of education on different sites.

But the result of the consultation was in favour of another option, that the authority ‘continue to support and challenge’ the two schools in their current format.

The report  was compiled by Cllr Michael Williams, lead member for children, who said the previously unacceptable performance of both schools was showing signs of improvement but he refused to rule out the possibility of either of the school’s becoming through-schools for children aged three through to 16.

“Performance at the two schools was erratic, especially at GCSE level, and as a result the performance levels were unacceptable,” he said.

“Each school has had a considerable amount of support since they were placed in special measures and we have recommended, for the time being, to continue to help and support the governing bodies address their issues.

“Since the consultation both schools continue to show signs of improvement.

“As a result of the report we found problems start a lot earlier than at 15 and 16-years-old, and the focus will now be on making the transfer from primary to secondary school a successful one for the children. It is about ensuring they are happy in the secondary school environment.

“The main goal is for us to be able to tell parents their children are going to good schools.

“There is some value in the idea of through-schools but we feel this is the best option to try to continue to improve standards. Three to 16 has a lot of merits as it promotes co-operation between children aged nine through to 13, which is one area we need to address.”

Cllr Williams confirmed each school would retain its current board of governors but they would be given added strength to aid improvement.

The council had written to the Welsh Government asking for the governors at both schools to be replaced by an interim executive board, but that request was withdrawn in what some governors called a “u-turn”.

The authority’s executive board will vote on Tuesday on the recommendations, which also state a package of support has already been agreed between the schools, the local authority and GwE (the regional school effectiveness and improvement service).

For more news from across the region visit newsnorthwales.co.uk

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