Posted: Sat 2nd May 2020

Extra cash announced to help struggling secondary schools in Gwynedd

North Wales news and information
This article is old - Published: Saturday, May 2nd, 2020

Gwynedd Council’s cabinet has committed £180,000 to improve standards at some of its struggling secondary schools. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Meeting virtually this week, decision makers backed transferring the sum from the authority’s transformation pot to fund the two year long secondments to the education department – looking specifically at the county’s smallest comprehensives. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

The report, which was approved unanimously, noted that while standards within the primary sector are among the best in Wales, three of the 14 secondary schools are currently in the lowest ‘red’ category as adjudged by the Welsh Government. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

But with the time of the authority’s two Area Education Officers described as “too limited” to be able to give the deserved attention to the secondary sector, the request was made for the extra funding to appoint more staff. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Head of education, Garem Jackson, said: “In considering where we need to concentrate our efforts to improve performance, we do recognise that the primary sector in Gwynedd is among the best in Wales. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

“But we also acknowledge there are some aspects of the secondary sector that need more support. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

“One of the department’s main aims is to develop leadership, specifically Meirionnydd where there are specific challenges in terms of de-population, a lack of applicants, some teachers teaching up to four subjects and where the critical mass can, at times, be too small. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

“With that in mind we have been discussing with headteachers in regards to what we can do differently in the smaller schools.” ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

The report concluded, “The Department has identified Meirionnydd as a key priority project due to the challenges facing the schools in the context of recruiting teachers, middle managers and leaders due to the size of the secondary schools. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

“Ensuring a specific focus on supporting the secondary sector in Gwynedd will enable the realisation of the Department’s vision in the Council Plan, and will free-up the time and resources of the current Education Officers to focus on supporting all aspects of the school organization.” ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

By Gareth Williams – Local Democracy Reporter ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

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