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Inspectors give top marks to council’s education service

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Prioritising and investing in education in Swansea is benefitting thousands of pupils and their teachers as well as the city’s schools, according to Welsh Government appointed inspectors.

The wellbeing and welfare of pupils is a clear priority for Swansea Council which has a commitment to provide the very best education for every child, a new report states.

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Pupil performance is above the national average and there is important work being done to support vulnerable young people to ensure they succeed and remain in school.

Officers from Estyn inspected Swansea Council’s education services in June and have published their findings this week.

The report states: “Swansea’s education directorate has an ambitious aspiration for all its children and young people. Together with the chief executive, leader, cabinet member for education and elected members, education officers have a clear commitment to provide the best education possible for every child.

“The director and her officers maintain constructive and open relationships with headteachers and stakeholders. They promote and support a strong and effective culture of self-improvement amongst Swansea schools. There is effective collaboration at many levels, which means that schools have a particularly strong record of improvement over time.

“Inspection outcomes for Swansea schools were the strongest in Wales in the three years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

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“Learner well-being and welfare is a key priority for the local authority.

“Senior officers and mainstream schools have a strong commitment to supporting vulnerable pupils and those at risk of disengagement. There is a wide range of support and interventions for pupils with behavioural and emotional difficulties to ensure that learners succeed and remain in education.

“In the school inspections between September 2017 and March 2020, Swansea’s profile for well-being and attitudes to learning was extremely strong. In addition, the number of pupils progressing to Year 11 and remaining in their school until the end of the academic year is consistently higher than national averages. This is a particular strength.”

The report says in recent years the council has expanded the offer of Welsh Medium Education but it states the council needs to ensure equal access to this provision across the city.

The council is also working with schools, colleges and other providers to improve post-16 provision to ensure that the needs of all learners are met.

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Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Learning, Robert Smith, said: “I’m very proud indeed with the findings of this week’s report.

“This is a journey of continuous improvement we have been on for over a decade. We have prioritised investment in education and schools, and we are seeing excellent outcomes as a result.

“I know that we have a dedicated and professional team in our education service and that our headteachers and their staff are among the best in Wales, but it is reassuring to see this view is echoed by independent inspectors from Estyn.

“In Swansea we will always strive to do better and we will work to further build on what has been achieved.

“But today I would like to thank our officers, headteachers, teachers and all school staff for their continued efforts. Most importantly I must praise our pupils and their families for their continued support of our schools.”

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(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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