FLINTSHIRE County Council have welcomed an Estyn inspection report into its education services and vowed to keep improving.

Estyn, the independent Inspectorate of Education and Training in Wales, conducted a full inspection of Flintshire’s education and youth services this summer.

The inspection involved a range of people from stakeholders, council officers, headteachers, governors and parents submitting their views through an online survey.

Overall, Estyn found that pupils in Flintshire schools are making sound progress during their time in statutory education with their results at the end of secondary school comparable to similar local authorities.

It also found that primary education in the county is particularly strong with the proportion of primary schools achieving excellent judgements for standards well above the Welsh average.

Another area of high performance is the early intervention work to support children’s speech, language and communication skills which was pulled out as leading sector practice.

The report also highlights that the wellbeing of most pupils is good across all phases of education and notes that Flintshire Council have strategies in place to improve the mental and emotional health of pupils.

There are, however, also a number of recommendations that Estyn have made for continued improvement in the region. Estyn has advised Flintshire Council to:

Continue improving the standards achieved by learners by the end of key stage 4. Improve pupil attendance levels - particularly in the secondary sector. Reduce the number of fixed term and permanent exclusions. Work with schools to keep school deficit budgets under control.

Following the publication of the report, Leader of Flintshire County Council and Cabinet Member for Education and Youth, Councillor Ian Roberts, said:

“I am extremely pleased that the inspectors have recognised the good progress being made by the education service in Flintshire. It is a credit to the hard work of all involved.

“Our education services have many strengths, and all service areas will demonstrate considerable drive and determination to address the inspection’s recommendations.”

Chief Officer for Education and Youth, Claire Homard, added:

“The report has noted the effective working between our Council education team, our schools and the regional school improvement service. It is this strong partnership that delivers a quality education experience for learners in Flintshire.

“We note the small number of recommendations which reflect areas for improvement we had already identified for ourselves and we will continue to do all that we can as a Council to prioritise education services despite the ongoing challenging economic circumstances facing local government.”

Flintshire Council currently support and maintain no less than 64 primary schools, 11 secondary schools, two specials schools, and a pupil referral unit with a net education budget of over £100 million.

The inspection report can be read in full at www.estyn.gov.wales.