Working through a consortia approach adds value to what local authorities can achieve on their own, allowing them to share good practice, knowledge and skills, magnify local strengths and build capacity.
Regional consortia working is a vital and key element of the national implementation plan – Improving Schools. Consortia working, however, needs to be considered as part of a range of planned actions, all of which are designed to achieve the improvements necessary to enable learners to achieve their potential.
There are four formal education consortia in Wales:
The formation of the Consortium and move towards regional working represents an ambitious step in the collaboration and delivery of education in South Wales. Our ambition is to work alongside schools to enable headteachers to lead improvement within and across schools, to develop and share practice and increase opportunities for constructive challenge and disciplined support. The service must deliver significant and sustained improvements including improvement in schools’ banding positions, in literacy and numeracy, in performance against the level 2+ threshold and most crucially in closing the attainment gap for disadvantaged pupils.
The success measures for the schools in the five authorities across Central South are:
The EAS has been created by the five local authorities to raise education standards. By working together as part of an integrated service to support and challenge schools effectively, enhance front line services and make the most of the available resources, progress will take place quickly and effectively.
The service will intensely monitor, support and challenge schools. Benefits of the service include increased capacity to support schools that require challenge, using data more effectively to focus on outcomes, identifying good practice across schools that can be used to improve outcomes, more efficient administration and facilitating professional learning communities.
ERW is an alliance of six Local Authorities governed by a legally constituted joint committee. Its aim is to implement the agreed regional strategy and business plan to support school improvement. The ERW Consortium was re-established following the release of the National Model for School Improvement (Welsh Government in February 2014). The National Model outlines the Welsh Government’s vision of regional school improvement consortia. The ERW Consortium was reformed in April 2014, with the Managing Director commencing in May 2014. The Cabinet of each respective Local Authority within the Region has adopted the Legal Agreement in place for ERW’s operation and governance. The purpose of ERW is to deliver a single consistent and integrated professional school improvement service for children and young people in a range of settings within the six Local Authorities.
GwE, the fully bilingual School Effectiveness and Improvement Service for North Wales, works alongside and on behalf of the Local Authorities of Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd, Wrexham and Anglesey to develop excellent schools across the region. By providing focused and supportive challenge and challenging support, GwE’s vision is to develop a self-improving system which trusts schools and their leaders at every level to guide us on that journey. At best, close collaboration between schools can be extremely challenging and leads us to the realisation that perhaps what we perceived as being excellent practice is not in fact excellent. Schools need to improve themselves for the sake of the learners in their care; it is up to GwE to ensure that this happens. The national improvement plan, Qualified for Life is an indication of a commitment to the concept of a self-improving education system, and encapsulates the vision of school leaders working together, taking charge of their future and development. Whilst those within our schools must take responsibility for raising standards within their own establishments, GwE is trying to nurture a mentality of mutually celebrating the achievements of an entire system – I want every school to be a good school, but I want my school to be that little bit better.