I’d first like to begin by expressing my congratulations to my predecessor Chris Elmore MP. Chris worked tirelessly to raise the standards for all learners in the Central South Wales region through his work as a councillor and Chair of the Central South Consortium’s Joint Committee. Chris firmly believed in the benefits of school to school working and provided expert guidance to the Consortium since its inception in 2012. On behalf of everyone in the Consortium I’d like to wish Chris all the very best for his new role in parliament representing the Ogmore Constituency.
In Central South Wales we have some of the very best practice not just in the region but nationally. I would like to pay tribute to the headteachers, teachers, governors, teaching support staff and of course the pupils themselves for the continuous and rapid improvement of outcomes for the region. With record breaking results this summer, I am delighted that schools in Central South Wales now sit above the national average for teacher assessment, along with an at least 2.7% points increase in the number of pupils achieving 5 GCSE passes at grades A*-C (including English/Welsh and mathematics) and a 2.2% points increase in the number of pupils achieving A*-C at A Level from last year. Through effective collaboration, challenge and support the region has shown successive improvement for the last four years; congratulations to all involved.
I am extremely very passionate about the role that high quality leadership plays in schools. A question that every school should ask itself is: Have we a succession strategy in place? Are we identifying future leaders and providing them with opportunities to develop? It is the responsibility of every leader and the hallmark of a good school to have these plans in place. I am delighted that our Headship Now! programme is available for aspiring headteachers in the region and that over 40 teachers have been accepted onto the first cohort. In addition, schools are able to access two programmes accredited by the University College London (New to Headship and Strategic Headship), along with two Central South programmes (Consultant Leadership and Executive Headship). I would also like to encourage schools to engage in school to school working to further develop their leadership skills, there are a wealth of opportunities available including School Improvement Groups and Pathfinder Pairings.
Many school and local authority staff will be aware that Robert Hopkins, Head of School Improvement, will shortly be retiring from the Consortium. Robert has played a key role in driving forward school improvement for the region, including a key focus upon the categorisation process and its successful implementation. On behalf of the region, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Robert for his dedication and commitment, he will be greatly missed and we wish him all the best for the future.
I am delighted that Mike Glavin has joined the Consortium as the Assistant Director. Mike comes to the role with a wealth of experience from both a local authority and school background, having worked as a headteacher for 18 years, most recently in Rhiw Syr Dafydd Primary School, as well as the Head of Service Improvement and Inclusion for the Vale of Glamorgan Local Authority. Mike’s role in the Consortium will focus on the challenge and support framework particularly on how to make the best use of school to school models, including a strong focus on rapid and sustainable progress for red/amber schools. We look forward to welcoming Mike and supporting him in his new role.
Finally I would like to highlight the great praise that was recently received from the Kirsty Williams AM, Cabinet Secretary for Education, for the work being undertaken in Central South Wales Schools. Myself and the Central South Wales Challenge Strategy group met with Kirsty in June this year to take her through the key aspects of the Challenge; particular praise was received for the highly effective partnerships that have been established along with the enthusiasm and passion in the region.I am very much looking forward to working with the Consortium and schools in Central South Wales. I am keen to visit as many schools as possible and very much welcome your views and comments. May I wish everyone a happy and productive year!