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Penglais School remains under monitoring

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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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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. amanda james

    June 5, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    Attended this school from 1972 – 1979 and I have to say my time there was horrendous. You are not yourself, you are just a number. First day of Chemistry lesson – teacher says *right, boys in the front rows, girls in the back ‘cos you have no interest in this subject.* I was given *detention* for walking out of a biology class because I flatly refused to chloroform a locust in preparation for dissection. A third year Biology teacher was charged with imparting *sex* education. An elderly gent, he had all the *rude* words on the blackboard…so use your imagination as to how that went! It didn’t. The place is a joke! And from what I have read recently, it still is. How it is still in operation is beyond me! This place has damaged so many kids from my time there and onward…and will continue to do so until it’s shut down!!!

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A level results still high in Ceredigion

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THE ‘A’ level examination results published today by the WJEC (15 August) show that high standards are being achieved in Ceredigion schools once again. 97.9% of entries for WJEC examinations were graded A* to E, with 27.9% of the entries achieving the top ’A’ grades.

Ceredigion pupils continue to outperform the Welsh average. More pupils in Ceredigion achieve the top ’A’ grades and A* to E grades. The below table shows a comparison with average Welsh figures. These don’t include Welsh Baccalaureate results and those from examination bodies other than WJEC.

Wales 2019             Ceredigion 2019

Grade A* – A           27.92%                    27.0%

Grade A* – B           56.0%                      n/a

Grade A* – C          77.5%                        n/a

Grade A* – E          97.9%                       97.6%

Councillor Catrin Miles is the Cabinet member responsible for Learning Services. She said, “I would like to extend my warmest congratulations once again to Ceredigion’s sixth form students for their successes in this year’s A Level and AS examinations.

These results are the culmination of a long journey through school life which has seen them nurture and develop the academic and interpersonal skills that will enable them to move confidently into higher education, training or employment in fields of their choice. I wish them good luck for the future and would like to sincerely thank all who have contributed to their school journey in any way.”

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MP Ben Lake calls for reform of police funding

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HAVING recently shadowed Dyfed Powys Police officers in Aberystwyth, the Ceredigion MP has again urged the UK Government to review the police funding formula for rural areas.

Mr Lake visited Aberystwyth police station as part of the #GiveADayToPolicing campaign, a scheme for Members of Parliament to better understand the challenges currently facing police forces across the UK.

During his visit Mr Lake had the opportunity to experience a variety of aspects of local policing – from spending time with the neighbourhood policing team, meeting officers from different departments, and discussing policing challenges with front-line police officers.

Mr Lake has challenged the UK Government on several occasions to reform the formula for police funding – highlighting the need for the funding formula to take into consideration the seasonal pressures on forces, particularly the significant increase to the population of coastal areas during the summer months.

Mr Lake said: “I am very grateful to the officers of Aberystwyth police station for their welcome, and for taking the time to speak with me. I now have a better understanding of the challenges our police officers face, as well as a deeper level of respect and admiration of their work and commitment to public safety.

“As I have previously stated, we cannot expect a one size fits all approach to work effectively across the whole of the UK, and as such, it is imperative that the criteria used to allocate the Home Office police grant are revised so that they reflect the increased demands and unique challenges facing rural forces in areas such as Ceredigion, especially during summer months.”

Mr Lake added: “It is widely acknowledged that Welsh police forces have suffered under the present funding formula, and so it is high time that the UK Government either amends the formula accordingly, or devolves the responsibility for policing to the Welsh Government so that they may do so themselves.”

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New waste trial launched in Aberystwyth

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A NEW trial has been launched in Aberystwyth as part of the Caru Aber campaign, to help keep the town centre clean on waste collection days.

Heavy duty sacks will be placed on Aberystwyth streets on Monday afternoons before the black bag collection on Tuesdays in the following streets; Portland Street, Portland Road, Queen Street, Corporation Street, Eastgate Street, New Street and Cambrian Place.

Black bags should be put in the sacks by 8am on Tuesday mornings for collection. The intention is that the sacks contain the waste until it is collected. The sacks will be retrieved after the waste has been collected to avoid clutter and obstruction on the streets.

Councillor Dafydd Edwards is the Cabinet member responsible for Highways and Environmental Services together with Housing. He said: “We see this trial as a practical and relatively cost effective way of responding to long standing issues relating to domestic waste presentation in Aberystwyth town centre. The sacks will also provide a visible reminder to residents in the town centre on what days to present their black bags.

“The trial forms part of the Caru Aber campaign, and the wider Caru Ceredigion campaign, where the council looks to work with local communities to address issues which are of concern or are important to them.

“This innovative approach is another example of positive proactive action the council is taking. We hope that the residents of the town centre will play their part by making good use of the sacks as this will be the critical factor in measuring the success of the scheme.”

Clean recycling and food waste should continue to be presented on a weekly basis in the containers that the council already provides through clear bags and food caddies.

Ensuring that the right waste is presented in the right way and on the right day will help to make sure that the town’s streets are kept clean and that the waste is contained, managed and treated in the most cost effective and environmentally friendly way as possible.

The sacks were first used in readiness for waste collections on Tuesday 6 August 2019. The initial feedback is positive as they have worked to contain the waste on the streets, which were noticeably cleaner.

This latest initiative is developing on feedback and experience from two other trials undertaken. The success of the trial will be monitored on an ongoing basis and reviewed to reflect the experience which will include looking at ways of engaging all residents.

For more information about the new scheme, please contact the Customer Services Contact Centre on 01545 570 881 or by e-mail on clic@ceredigion.gov.uk.

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