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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 October 2007, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK
Council pledge on failing schools
School generic
The Denbighshire education system was criticised in reports
Denbighshire council has agreed a "statement of intent" to work with schools to improve education.

A crisis meeting accepted "radical change" was needed after a damning report by the schools inspection body Estyn last month.

Meanwhile, a councillor who accused council chief executive Ian Miller of "very poor management" at the meeting has retracted his remarks.

Mr Miller says he has accepted the apology from Dewi Owens.

Mr Owens made the comments after a heated meeting to discuss the county's education service.

Mr Miller said he had accepted an apology for comments made at the meeting on Thursday, which were withdrawn when the council reassembled after lunch.

"In view of the apology and withdrawal, I will not be taking the matter any further."

After the meeting, the council said there was a commitment to work in partnership with schools and key stakeholders "to achieve significantly better outcomes for children and young people."

It said: "Our aspiration is for all of our schools to offer a first class education service. We accept that this requires radical change."

The council said it would "rigorously implement" the Estyn action plan. Two recent reports have criticised the education service and its "ineffective leadership".

Denbighshire Council's leader and her cabinet are currently facing a second vote of no confidence over the issue.

On Thursday, the council said it had received a notice of motion signed by 13 members, expressing a vote of no confidence in Rhiannon Hughes and her team.

Education services overall in Denbighshire have "shortcomings in important areas"
The political leadership for education is "ineffective"
No effective planning for improving education
The school improvement strategy does not focus on the key priorities and actions needed to raise standards
The council's attendance strategy has yet to have a positive impact on overall attendance levels
Source: Estyn

It came despite assurances from the council leader to parents and to the Welsh Assembly Government that standards would improve following the inspectors reports.

In September, a highly-critical report by education watchdog Estyn had found failures at the council to address poor performance.

It followed a consultants' report, which criticised standards in schools.

Estyn's 35-page report said children's educational performance was below average at the ages of seven, 11 and at 16 when they take their GCSEs.

In 2006, Denbighshire also came 19th of the 22 authorities in Wales for the percentage of students gaining two AS/A levels.

Education Minister Jane Hutt has said the shortcomings were "unacceptable".

Denbighshire Council said it had already begun to address some of the issues and had begun to invest 470,000 a year from 2006-07 on to improve attainment at Key Stage level 3.

It also said it had improved partnership working with the social services and tackled leadership problems at schools with the worst under attainment.


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