Estyn Report on Flintshire’s Education Services
The Council welcomes the Estyn inspection report into our education services. We support and maintain 64 primary schools, 11 secondary schools, 2 special schools and a pupil referral unit with a net education budget of over £100 million.
Estyn is the independent Inspectorate of Education and Training in Wales. Estyn conducted a full inspection of our education and youth services earlier this summer. The inspection involved a range of stakeholders including elected members, council officers, headteachers, governors, learners, officers of the regional education improvement service (GwE) and local partners. Parents, carers, stakeholders and the general public were asked to submit their views via an online survey.
Estyn found that, overall, pupils in our local schools, including those entitled to free school meals and those with special educational needs, make sound progress during their time in statutory education. The standards achieved by pupils by the end of their secondary education are comparable with similar local authorities. Estyn notes that primary education in the county is particularly strong with the proportion of primary schools achieving excellent judgements for standards well above the Wales average. The performance of vulnerable groups of pupils has improved over the last three years with the number of Year 11 leavers known not to be in education, training or employment remaining low.
The effective working relationship between ourselves and the regional school improvement service (GwE) is highlighted as a strength with appropriate support for schools leading to improvements in standards achieved by pupils. Our provision for vulnerable pupils, those with special educational needs and those Educated Other than at School (EOTAS) is also described positively in the report.
One notable area of high performance is the early intervention work to support children’s speech, language and communication. This has been pulled out as leading sector practice.
The report also highlights that most pupils’ wellbeing is good across all phases of education and notes that we have strategies to improve the mental and emotional health of pupils both in schools and through its integrated youth provision. Estyn affirms that children and young people have positive opportunities to contribute to decisions on issues that affect them. The leadership and management of education services in Flintshire is strong with senior officers and elected members sharing a clear vision for educational provision. This vision is reflected in corporate strategies and is well communicated.
The report makes a small number of recommendations for ongoing improvement with which we agree. These include continuing to improve the standards achieved by learners by the end of key stage 4, improved pupil attendance levels - particularly in the secondary sector, and reducing the number of fixed term and permanent exclusions. The report also recommends that we work with schools to keep school deficit budgets under control.
Leader of Flintshire County Council and Cabinet Member for Education and Youth, Councillor Ian Roberts, said:
“I welcome this recognition of our position and performance and I am extremely pleased that the inspectors have recognised the good progress being made by the education service in Flintshire. It is a credit to the hard work of all involved.
“I would like to thank school and education service staff teams, governors, Councillors and partner organisations for their contribution to improving educational opportunities and outcomes in Flintshire. Our education services have many strengths, and all service areas will demonstrate considerable drive and determination to address the inspection’s recommendations.”
Chief Officer for Education and Youth, Claire Homard, said:
“This is a really pleasing report and everyone should be extremely proud of the hard work and dedication that has led to this achievement. The report has noted the effective working between our Council education team, our schools and the regional school improvement service and it is this strong partnership that delivers a quality education experience for learners in Flintshire.
We note the small number of recommendations which reflect areas for improvement we had already identified for ourselves and we will continue to do all that we can as a Council to prioritise education services despite the ongoing challenging economic circumstances facing local government.”
The inspection report can be read in full at estyn.gov.wales.