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Written Statement - Outcome of Estyn’s monitoring visit of Monmouthshire’s  LAESCYP– November 2015

Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills

Members will be aware that, following Estyn’s inspection of Monmouthshire local authority education services for children and young people in November 2012, the inspection team judged that the authority’s education services and capacity to improve were both unsatisfactory. As a result, the authority was placed in special measures.

In June 2013 I put in place a Ministerial Recovery Board to provide support and challenge to the authority and to assist it in addressing its shortcomings.

Estyn has been monitoring the authority’s progress and undertook visits in February and June 2014 and March 2015. On each occasion the Inspectors found that the LA had taken steps to address the individual recommendations, but that further improvement was needed.

Estyn’s last monitoring visit of the authority’s education services took place at the end of November 2015 and I wish to draw your attention to the outcome of that visit.

I am pleased to say that following the visit, Estyn judged that the authority had made sufficient progress in relation to the recommendations following the inspection of November 2012.  As a result, the Inspectorate considers that the authority no longer requires special measures and is removing it from further follow-up activity.

Estyn’s report of the outcome of the monitoring visit has been published on its website.

I have met with Monmouthshire’s leader and chief executive to offer my congratulations on the progress that the LA has achieved and the judgment given by inspectors. As the authority has been removed from special measures I will be revoking the Direction that was issued putting in place a Ministerial recovery board to provide support and challenge as the authority addressed the recommendations made by Estyn.

While this judgment importantly reflects the progress made by the authority, it also critically reflects that outcomes for young people in Monmouthshire are improving.  We must continue to focus on these outcomes and ensure that standards in education in the authority continue to improve.

Whilst Estyn’s announcement is pleasing, I have urged the leadership team of the authority not to become complacent and to ensure that the improvement continues and is sustainable.  I have urged them to consider the best mechanism which would enable this to happen.

Through my discussions with the authority I am pleased to note that this issue is firmly within the leadership team’s minds and that they are actively considering how the progress made can be continued. My officials, in collaboration with the authority, are giving some thought to the most appropriate support structures that would allow the authority to achieve this.