ESTYN Inspectors will return to Powys in a year to 18 months time to see if improvements to education have happened.

Councillors were told at the full council meeting on Thursday, January 23, that the education inspectorate had been satisfied with Powys County Council’s (PCC) Post Inspection Action Plan (PIAP).

PCC staff had met with Estyn for a post-inspection improvement conference on November 28, 2019.

Interim chief education officer, Lynette Lovell, said: “What Estyn wanted to be assured about is that we had coherent plans to address the issue and sufficient resources to implement the action plan.

“That we have rigorous processes in place to monitor the implementation .of the plan and evaluate the impact.

“Following the conference our officers worked on the PIAP and put some more details into plans.

“We are already moving at pace; we didn’t wait for it to be approved before starting our work, that started immediately after the inspection.”

Ms Lovell went on to say that there had been “intense engagement” with governors, teachers and headteachers and had hoped to do more but purdah rules due to the December general election had stopped that.

Ms Lovell added: “You will be aware cabinet approved (on January 21) further engagement which will be done in February.”

This will be for the Strategic School Review, this and the response to Estyn are intertwined.

Cllr Pete Roberts, chair of the learning and care committee (Liberal Democrat – Llandrindod South) added: “Officers spent 15 hours with scrutiny in five separate meetings looking at each of the streams (recommendations).

“They gave us significant confidence in their desire to move forward and turn this around.

“We have had more discussions and scrutiny will be taking a more proactive role and will be fully aware of what’s going on.”

In September 2019 Estyn published a damning report saying that there were many areas of the authority’s work causing “significant concern.”

Education – like Children’s and Adult Social Services has also been added to the remit of the Improvement and Assurance Board.

The letter from Estyn to PCC was from assistant director, Clive Phillips.

Mr Phillips said: “The conference enabled participants to explore areas of the improvement plan which would benefit from being strengthened.

“We will formally review the authority’s progress in around 12 to 18 months time.

“This will be in the form of a progress conference.”

There the inspectors will be able to judge if PCC has made enough improvements to be removed from follow up work, or will need more visits.

The recommendations from Estyn are:

  • Improve standards in secondary schools, and especially the performance of
  • more able learners
  • Improve the evaluation, planning and co-ordination of provision for learners with special educational needs and other pupils who may require extra support
  • Improve the consistency and impact of senior leaders in improving the quality of education services and continue to strengthen the rigour, scrutiny and challenge about performance of the authority’s services
  • Ensure that the organisation of provision for non-maintained, post 16, Welsh medium education and secondary education meets the needs of the children and young people of Powys
  • Continue to improve the quality of financial management in schools and take appropriate action to address schools with significant deficit budgets