RCT Council praised In Education Estyn Report
Written by Gavin on 3rd April 2023
Education services in Rhondda Cynon Taf have been praised for setting high standards and providing clear and purposeful leadership, in a new Estyn report.
The Estyn report on the quality of the Council’s Education and Inclusion Service found that its education leaders are committed to ensuring that children and young people across the County Borough achieve their very best.
Councillor Rhys Lewis, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council Cabinet Member for Education and Youth Participation, said:
“I welcome the many positive aspects of the Estyn report into our Education and Inclusion Service, as we pride ourselves in offering the best education possible to all our learners.
“We are able to do this through our excellent Education Directorate and I’d like to thank Director of Education, Gaynor Davies, and all our staff for their dedicated work and commitment in helping us nurture our learners to help them achieve.
“We welcome this report and thank Estyn for their thorough and professional inspection. We’re fully committed to taking on board their recommendations to further improve our provision.”
Estyn praised Rhondda Cynon Taf Council on its development of future leaders in education through a strong professional learning offer and effective succession planning. The Directorate was requested to provide an innovative and effective practice case study on its work in this area for dissemination on Estyn’s website
Inspectors also noted that Council Leader, Andrew Morgan OBE, Chief Executive Paul Mee and Councillor Rhys Lewis, Cabinet Member for Education and Youth Participation, along with elected members and senior staff in the Council’s Education Directorate have set high expectations for their officers, schools and providers.
Estyn said this has resulted in all officers having a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities and are empowered to take action to provide valuable services to improve outcomes for children and young people across the authority.
Inspectors stated that the Council also makes effective use of a wide range of data and information when considering school reorganisation and planning and places a high priority on supporting its most vulnerable children and young people to improve their outcomes, wellbeing and life chances. Overall support for additional learning needs was deemed to be strong.
The local authority’s data systems to capture intelligence about schools and Pupil Referral Units from across different service areas were considered to be very effective. A further innovative and effective case study was requested by Estyn on the Directorate’s work in relation to the use of data to inform planning and decision making.
Education staff were identified as feeling valued and well informed of the direction and vision for improvement. It was also noted that during the Covid 19 pandemic and the ensuing recovery process, the Council provided ‘exceptionally strong support’ for its schools.
Recommendations by Estyn to further strengthen current provision include sharpening the approach to self-evaluation and improvement planning; and strengthening approaches to Welsh-medium education by improving access and support for learners with additional learning needs and providing opportunities for late immersion for learners. Estyn also recommended working closely with schools, pupil referral units and the regional consortium to build on the Council’s work to improve school attendance and reduce exclusions.