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Penglais School remains under monitoring

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 12.12.40THE HEADTEACHER of an Aberystwyth secondary school has been appointed to a key post in charge of Learning Services at County Hall, despite failing to move their own school out of Estyn monitoring.

Matthew Brown, was appointed to the post of head teacher at Penglais School, Waunfawr, at the beginning of the 2013/14 academic year.

Penglais is the largest secondary school in Ceredigion.

In 2014, the school was the subject of a critical report prepared by Estyn. That report suggested that the school’s prospects for improvement were ‘adequate’ due to the failure of senior school leaders to hold middle leaders to account robustly enough for improving outcomes in standards and wellbeing. Most critically, bearing in mind the post to which Mr Brown has now been appointed, Estyn found that the quality and rigour of self-evaluation and improvement planning by senior and middle leaders are inconsistent.

Among the data in the 2014 report, is a significant level of parent dissatisfaction with the school.

Estyn also found that boys at Key Stage Four performed less well than girls and that there was a need to improve the achievement of boys and pupils entitled to free school meals.

As a result of those findings, the school was subject to continued monitoring by Estyn in order to check on the school’s progress towards resolving the issues identified by the 2014 report.

In January this year, the school was the subject of a follow-up visit by Estyn.

That visit did not result in a further written report as no change was made to the underlying recommendation from 2014; namely, that the school remain subject to monitoring by Estyn.

A spokesperson for Estyn explained: “Should a school come out of follow-up then a report stating this would then be published in our website.”

While some improvements have taken place at Penglais, those have been insufficient to merit removing the school from monitoring.

Despite those failings, Mr Brown was successful in his application for the post of Head of Children’s Services, and was appointed to the role in January this year and before the outcome of the Estyn reinspection was known.

A check of the County Council’s website has revealed that the post of head teacher at the school remains unfilled. The Council has confirmed that the post will not now be filled until the end of the academic year 2016/17.

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Dayne Stone

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