Answer: I was so pleased to see in a recent press article that two of our schools feature among the best ten schools in Wales. Bassaleg was at no. 2 and Caerleon at no. 9. Congratulations to students and all those involved.
Newport LA has seen another rise in the number of pupils achieving 5 GCSE’s A*-C including English and Maths (Level 2 inclusive performance). 52.8% of pupils achieved this indicator- a 1.5 percentage point improvement from 2013.
I’ve held meetings along with the Chief Education Officer and Corporate Director with the Heads and Chairs of each of the secondary schools to discuss the data in context. Each Head teacher presented a detailed analysis of the GCSE results for their school, demonstrating where the school had been successful, lessons learnt and how the challenges to improved performance will be addressed.
The local authority has set out a clear expectation for Level 2 inclusive performance in the next three years. Head teachers and Chairs of Governors will report progress towards targets in spring and summer term 2015.
In terms of the joint working with the EAS they will continue its work to support secondary schools. Partner Challenge Advisers will provide specialist advice to secondary Head teachers. Each of the Partner Challenge Advisers is or has been a successful secondary Head teacher and understands the ingredients of developing an effective 11-18 setting. The Partner Challenge Advisers will arrange appropriate bespoke brokerage, intervention and support for each of the Newport secondary schools which will include:
Newport now has a dedicated Principal Challenge Advisor, Hayley Davies-Edwards, this new role is having a significant impact in terms of EAS focus and joint working with the authority and I’ve clearly seen the difference it had made to have a Newport-centric senior officer since the beginning of this academic year.
The Schools Challenge Cymru programme will provide specifically targeted support to Llanwern, St Julian’s and Lliswerry High Schools to help them to make improvements in their pupils’ levels of attainment.
Schools Challenge Cymru will deliver a relentless focus on improving the quality of teaching and learning through professional development, promoting leadership by developing leaders for now and the future underpinned by an unflinching belief that all children can achieve with high aspirations for all. The programme will build on the elements proven to work in the successful London and Manchester challenges, adapting them to a Welsh context, bringing in expertise from all over the UK. Some of Wales’ finest and highest performing schools will also be involved, sharing expertise and leadership, supporting teachers in Challenge Cymru schools to achieve the improvements needed.