Ensuring the best for Gwynedd pupils

Date 25/10/2016

Ensuring the best for Gwynedd pupils

 Gwynedd Council’s objective is that all the county’s schools equip children and young people to achieve the highest possible standards. The Council is also committed to finding creative ways of safeguarding education in rural communities.

 Whilst the quality of education in Gwynedd schools is currently very good, headteachers and independent educational specialists have identified the need to develop new and innovative ways of working to ensure that this success continues. They have clearly stated that there is a significant risk to educational standards in Gwynedd schools over the coming years unless some changes are made to the current model.

 If the objective of providing excellent education to all Gwynedd children is to be achieved, headteachers have said that certain challenges must be addressed. These include:

-       a lack of adequate time for headteachers to lead and to steer education in their schools, to develop and to promote good practice, and to effectively manage staff and budgets;

-       increasing problems in recruiting headteachers;

-       primary schoolteachers often having to teach a wide range of pupils of different ages and abilities in the same class - up to four school years in one class at some times;

-       secondary schoolteachers often having to teach several subjects outside their area of expertise.

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Arwyn Thomas, Gwynedd Council’s Head of Education, said:

 “Over the past year, we have held discussions with Gwynedd headteachers and have listened carefully to them.

 “These discussions have been extremely productive and have provided a basis for setting out new initial principles to protect educational standards and for moving towards the goal of ensuring that all children in the county receive an excellent education that will enable them to live and to thrive locally.

 “These initial discussions have confirmed and highlighted the fact that we are facing a challenge in school leadership and that it is increasing on an annual basis.

 “Clearly, this is something that we cannot ignore if we are serious about safeguarding the quality of education in the county, including education in rural areas.”

 Councillor Gareth Thomas, Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, noted:

 “Gwynedd’s school staff are fully committed to providing the best possible education for our children. However, we need to discuss and to agree on new principles in order to avoid a decline over the coming years.

 “As an initial step, we have started on this essential work by inviting the county’s school headteachers to define the challenges facing them and we are extremely grateful to them for their willingness to contribute fully to the work. What they have identified is in line with the school inspectorate Estyn’s opinion that good leadership is vital in achieving education of the highest quality for our children.

 “Over the next few weeks, we will be visiting communities in all parts of Gwynedd - and we are eager to be develop principles in collaboration with the profession, governors and parents so we can move forward together.”

 A series of drop-in meetings will be held across Gwynedd during the next few weeks for school governors, parents and the wider community to be a part of the process of developing new educational principles for Gwynedd’s schools:

 -       07/11/2016 3pm - 6pm Plas Ffrancon Leisure Centre, Bethesda

-       09/11/2016 3pm - 6pm Capel Berea Newydd, Bangor

-       14/11/2016 4pm - 7pm Ysgol Brynrefail, Llanrug

-       16/11/2016 3pm - 6pm Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle, Penygroes

-       18/11/2016 3pm - 6pm Arfon Leisure Centre, Caernarfon

-       21/11/2016 3pm - 6pm Penllyn Leisure Centre, Y Bala

-       23/11/2016 3pm - 6pm Bro Ffestiniog Leisure Centre, Blaenau Ffestiniog

-       28/11/2016 3pm - 6pm Glaslyn Leisure Centre, Porthmadog

-       30/11/2016 3pm - 6pm Ysgol Ardudwy, Harlech

-       05/12/2016 3pm - 6pm Glan Wnion Leisure Centre, Dolgellau

-       06/12/2016 3pm - 6pm Ysgol Glan y Môr, Pwllheli

-       07/12/2016 3pm - 6pm Bro Dysynni Leisure Centre, Tywyn

-       14/12/2016 3pm - 6pm Canolfan Fenter Congl Meinciau, Botwnnog

 The public engagement period will continue until the spring term of 2017 and will then help form the basis of the new vision for the education system in Gwynedd.

 The discussion will be ongoing and will  help form the basis of the new vision for the education system in Gwynedd.