More needs to be done to improve teaching standards in Pembrokeshire’s schools with results described as “depressing.”

The validated key stage four and five results (GCSE and 16-18 education) were presented to schools and learning overview and scrutiny on Thursday, January 23 with concerns raised by members about a lack of improvement.

Cllr Mike Stoddart said a stronger stance on excluding disruptive pupils should be taken.

“I’m not knocking teachers but we need to get an improvement in schools so teachers can teach and not firefight problems all the time,” he said.

Outgoing director of education Kate Evan-Hughes said: “We have to remember that those young people are entitled to an education too,” adding very few woke up in the morning with the intention to cause disruption.

She also highlighted a future impact on social service budgets as increased exclusion led to poorer outcomes for young people.

But Cllr Stoddart, as well as Cllr Ken Rowlands, questioned the benefit of not removing such pupils with Cllr Stoddart saying “so-called tidy people” are entitled not to have their children’s education disrupted.

Cllr John Davies said there were “pockets of improvement” but looking at standards across Wales “sadly and regrettably on all graphs we are underperforming.”

He added that improving the quality of teaching had been a long standing problem and progress was not being made.

Steps to improve standards include teacher training, greater challenge from governors and tackling underperformance in leadership, deputy chief education officer Steven Richard-Downes said.

There were a number of programs available to raise teaching standards and skills, and that needs to be done “more systematically on  a local authority basis” added Mr Richard-Downes.

A report on the recent Estyn inspection of the local authority is due for publication next month and a detailed action plan will be included.

The committee decided it would also improve involvement with headteachers and visit more schools to learn more about the situation.

Cllr Pat Davies said: “We are letting people down. Forty seven children left school with no qualifications. That’s totally depressing, that 47 children cannot be reached and what hope have they got for the future?”

She added that school leaders, teachers and governing bodies “need to be up-skilled but the buck stops with the education directorate.”