Wrexham schools 'must do better'

Reporter:

Garth ap Thomas

MUST do better – that was the damning verdict from Wrexham councillors on school results in the county borough.


In an astonishing attack Wrexham Council’s executive board said they had severe concerns about classroom results when they met to discuss the proposed budget for 2011-12.


They claimed they were not getting value for money given the amount that is ploughed into local schools.


Cllr Rodney Skelland said: “Unlike many other councils we have been investing in education, but there has been little sign of improvement in performance.


“We need a complete review of how we run schools, including LEA and school management, training of governors and heads.


“It is very disappointing to see the results. We have put a lot of money into schools. In my opinion a review is required.”


Cllr Mark Pritchard stressed it was an important problem throughout the whole of Wales which demanded urgent attention, stressing education was vital in helping to tackle deprivation.


“There are children leaving school who can’t read or write and morally that is just not acceptable.”


He added: “The Welsh Assembly Government should take on the teaching unions. Every child should come out of school with a good education. Someone has to take this on, it is bigger than just us in Wrexham.”


Cllr Bob Dutton said there were real concerns that Wales was falling behind in terms of education standards in Europe.


“The situation is not good. I’m not sure we are getting value for money. I would expect to see a better performance than we are currently getting.”


But Cllr Michael Williams stressed there were many positives to be found in education and these were difficult times for the teaching profession.


He said: “Schools find themselves facing many issues with enormous pressures. There have been massive improvements in schools and in standards of teaching.”


Cllr Aled Roberts said Wrexham had moved from being below the Welsh average of attainment in education to above average, but emphasised there was no room for complacency.


The councillors were discussing a report by chief finance and performance officer Mark Owen which said Wrexham Council is looking to make savings of about £7 million.


The public is being invited to have its say in a consultation on the budget by emailing statistics@wrexham.gov.uk


The budget will also be considered at a council workshop in January and by councillors in February.

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