9:01am Monday 26th August 2013
WALES’ education minister says local authorities will always have a role in organising education.
Huw Lewis has told the Argus that local accountability is at the centre of the model of education in Wales.
The head of the Education Achievement Service regional consortium Steve Davies told the Argus in July that councils will stay part of the way education is run in the region.
The Argus asked Mr Lewis whether he thought councils will always have a role in organising education.
“Yes I do, that doesn’t mean the role will always remain the same,” he said.
Mr Lewis said Wales is committed to “community based comprehensive education.
“It’s a very different philosophy of education as compared to England, we’re much more akin to the philosophy of education in Scotland to that in England. Local representation and local democratic accountability is at the centre of that," he said.
“We do want more all-Gwent thinking when it comes to school improvement. That’s where we need them to break out of that sort of cycle they’ve been in for some time.
“That does need co-working beyond the boundaries of a single local authority. That doesn’t mean to say every single function of provision of education, its a wider agenda than that, would necessarily follow.”
The not-for-profit EAS is one of four Welsh consortia – dubbed “super authorities” – tasked with improving education standards by former education minister Leighton Andrews, after poor results in literacy and numeracy compared to other countries.
Monmouthshire, Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen’s education departments are in special measures and control over improvement has either been handed to the EAS or appointed commissioners.
All Gwent schools are now being monitored by the EAS, as well as periodically by Estyn.
Mr Davies told the Argus in July that education departments will not all merge into one region and that some services the EAS does not provide, such as additional learning needs, would continue to be delivered by councils: “I believe there will still be council services albeit being delivered on a shared basis.”
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