Pembrokeshire County Council out of special measures after 'significant progress'
9:21am Friday 20th June 2014 in News
Pembrokeshire County Council is no longer in special measures after education watchdog Estyn said "significant progress" had been made.
The Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, Councillor Jamie Adams, has welcomed the announcement. He said the news was a significant milestone.
The council was placed in special measures following an inspection in October 2012 by the education watchdog Estyn into education services for children and young people.
A monitoring plan was subsequently agreed with Estyn and since then inspectors have visited the council on two occasions to monitor progress.
After the latest visit earlier this month, the inspection team judged that the Authority had made “sufficient progress” to be taken out of special measures.
In making the decision, Estyn said that following the 2012 inspection, the Council had acted ‘quickly and decisively’ to plan for change which resulted in significant improvement.
The Estyn report continues: "The Chief Executive, Leader and senior officers took difficult and sensitive decisions to remove barriers to progress in order to bring about the necessary improvement.
"These decisions were implemented carefully and have resulted in a complete restructure within the Pembrokeshire Children and Schools Service. A new management team is working closely together as a cohesive group to embed change.
"The Authority now engages well with the regional consortium. Joint working arrangements with regional partners have strengthened the Authority’s capacity to challenge and support its schools.
"There is a significant change in culture within the Authority demonstrated through greater openness and transparency. The Authority’s vision and expectation for its education services are communicated clearly to schools and other partners.
"Officers and elected members have shown a willingness to work constructively with inspection, audit and regulatory bodies to identify and address shortcomings. They demonstrate a firm commitment to implement change and have an appetite for further improvement."
Councillor Adams said he was delighted with the outcome of the latest visit.
“This is a very important day in the life of Pembrokeshire County Council and a significant moment in a long and sometimes painful journey, but one which we had to undertake.
“Along the way weaknesses have been identified and addressed and substantial changes made to working practices.
“The result is a more dynamic, transparent and outward-looking local Authority. This is just not my opinion but is also the view shared by the inspectors.
“We remain committed to doing everything that can reasonably be expected to keep children in our County safe. Today’s decision by the inspectors formally acknowledges that they have confidence in our services.
“I want to pay tribute to the senior officers and employees who have worked together with the Elected Members in bringing about this change which provides firm foundations for our education services.”
Councillor Sue Perkins, the County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Safeguarding said the Council would continue to be firmly focused on improving outcomes for children.
“We recognise that there is always need for further improvement and we will focus on what still needs to be done” she added.
“However, this is a significant result for the children of Pembrokeshire, all of whom should have the opportunity of receiving the best education we can offer.”
To see the Estyn report go to: www.estyn.gov.uk
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