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Wrexham 'super schools' given reprieves after showing improvement

Published date: 09 April 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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TWO failing ‘super schools’ in Wrexham will be given a reprieve as they “continue to show signs of improvement”.

Ysgol Clywedog and Ysgol Rhosnesni were placed in special measures after Estyn inspections last year.

Wrexham Council went onto explore a range of options for the future of the schools during a public consultation beginning in December.

Now executive board members have voted to approve a report recommending the local authority “continues to support and challenge” the two comprehensive schools, offering a reprieve to their governing boards.

A follow-up report on progress of the schools will now come before the executive board in June.

After Cllr Carole O’Toole successfully added an amendment to the original recommendations, the report will contain an analysis of “destination figures” showing the number of children leaving feeder schools to go to Ysgol Rhosnesni and Ysgol Clywedog.

The amendment was added after concerns were raised about falling pupil numbers at the schools.

Proposals for specific measures to improve the reputation of both schools and make them “first school of choice” for families in the catchment areas will also be included.

Cllr O’Toole called for greater co-operation between primary and secondary schools during “pre-transition” phases to address falling numbers.

Cllr Malcolm King, who sits on the board of governors at Ysgol Rhosnesni, said governors were “relieved“ next year’s intake at the Rhosnesni Lane school was likely to be better than originally feared

But deputy leader Cllr Mark Pritchard said the only way to increase the number of children going to under-performing schools was by improving results.

“I think the alarm bells have been ringing for quite a while,” he said. “We are where we are with it and we have got to move forward.

“If we don’t improve the schools, parents won’t send their children there.”

Cllr Pritchard said in his Esclusham ward a significant percentage of parents were paying more than £15 per week on transport to send their children to a high-performing school.

He added: “The issue is not money and it is not transport. The issue is results.”

Lead member for children’s services and education, Cllr Michael Williams, warned that despite the improvements, “these are not the only schools in Wrexham that have problems”.

But Cllr Williams added the council should aim to be the best authority in North Wales in terms of education within the next five years.

He said: “We don’t have a failing system at secondary school level. Some of them are very good and we are going along the right route.

“We have got to set targets for success.We cant stand for mediocrity we have got to have excellence at every level.”

Cllr Phil Wynn, a governor at Ysgol Clywedog, said going into special measures was “a wake up call”.

He added: “We can no longer tolerate Wrexham bumbling along as one of the worst performing areas in terms of education.”

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

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