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Provider: Powys County Council Education Services

Level of follow-up: Significant concern

Removed: October 2021

Following our monitoring visit in the autumn term, we judged that Powys education services had made sufficient progress to be removed from our list of local authorities causing significant concern. Officers and elected members had responded well to the findings of the core inspection, acknowledged the challenges they faced and worked quickly to begin to address the recommendations that we made.

The chief executive appointed a new director of education who strengthened the relationship between the education service and schools. A positive feature has been that, although the improvement work was at an early stage at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, officers and elected members maintained a robust focus on the implementation of the improvement strategies at the same time as addressing the urgent needs of schools caused by the pandemic.

We found that the local authority had made strong progress in aspects of its work that caused concern during the core inspection. For example, support for schools including those participating in the Welsh Government’s pilot multi-agency approach has resulted in secondary schools showing sufficient progress to be removed from a statutory category of follow-up. Officers also improved the planning and co-ordination of provision for pupils with special educational needs and those who require extra support.

The local authority implemented an ambitious programme of school organisation proposals based on the Transforming Education Strategy. These proposals have included the opening of a new all-age school, the merger of a number of primary schools and the closure of small rural schools, as well as changes to the language category of schools. Officers and relevant members of the council engaged well with parents, pupils, staff and governors to discuss proposals and allay concerns.