Rhosnesni School

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    It doesn’t matter how smartly you get everyone dressed – until something is done Wales-wide – our schools are going to continuously underperform and the pupils will continue to be let down even if they are in full military dress with polished gleaming brass and boots.

    At some point someone needs to make a massive admission that the Super Schools have colossally damaged secondary education in the middle of town. Especially when the desired effect (promise) was to create 2 schools with larger pupils numbers but of a higher quality educational experience for all who attended. Now, post the special measures pupil numbers have plummeted at Rhosnesni (unsure of situation at Clywedog) because it is such a poor establishment. Many of us who went to St David’s on that site and were proud of it don’t consider our school to even exist anymore as association with Rhosnesni would be a complete mockery.

    Once this somewhat scandalous incident is detailed and a line drawn under it – nothing short of an emergency bailout from the WAG will help improve the situation – not just small handouts that haven’t been working, but a multi-million pound stimulus. It’s either that or a whole generation are going to end up underqualified and not set-up for the world of work or life.

    We’ve discussed this in several threads (usually with Alun) that until the WAG do something about increasing funding and attracting better quality teachers to replace the broken comprehensive system in Wales (see academies in England) then things are going to continue going downhill.

    At the moment tough acting and ordering people about with uniform is just a band aid over a bullet-wound at Rhosnesni. Don’t get me wrong the new head sounds like he means business, but not until he delivers rather than just talks – will I have faith restored in that school. It won’t even be his fault if he doesn’t turn things around (due to the aforementioned issues) – but best of luck to him.



    Better a sticking plaster than nothing at all. Standards have been slipping ever since St Davids had a name change. Pupils are no longer proud to belong to a school which was at one time recognised as the premier school in Wales musically. Now the only thing that they are recognised for is their appalling standards & behaviour. Discipline begins at home. When parents fail it is left to teachers.


    Council Watcher

    Is this really a need for more finance – if it was how come Maelor School in Penley achieves such good results with their pupils?
    Making young people more aspirational has to be a start – this is more to do with those who live at home and if they are in work or daily TV couch potatoes (apologies this is just a general term and not reflective on large numbers of parents at Rhosnessni or Clywedog). The whole home context in which young people live is crucial to the support level they have and the family motivation.

    It i also unfortunate but a close look at the teaching staff and management needs to be carried out – staff standards play a significant part in the standards and educational development within a school. Failing schools, equals failing pupils.

    Key to the improvement should be GWE – which is the North Wales School Improvement Service — what are they doing to help?


    Maureen Gray

    All good points, but how the hell does GWE stand for North Wales School Improvement Service??



    Watcher you need the £££ to attract the top level management, teaching and support staff – if you pay peanuts you don’t get the best staff. All our top teachers based locally get poached over the border into England – anyone shines in a place like Rhosnesni and they’ll find a better job offer in England.

    To keep them in Rhosnesni It’s almost like giving hazard pay to dangerous jobs as the actual incentive to work in the difficult environment should be there then maybe standards will lift.

    Maelor School is a completely different ball park – several local church feeder primary schools in a well to do rural area plus all of the affluent and bright kids bussed in from elsewhere. The Maelor doesn’t have to waste its time and resources forcing kids who don’t want to learn and don’t want to be in school – those kids at the Maelor actually want to be in school – contrasting to those left behind in Rhosnesni.

    London is the one really bucking the trend getting results – decent end GCSE grades from those in the most deprived background and the respective schools have received millions in extra funding vs the rest of the UK. Also, instead of their transformational education programmes lasting just a few years like we have in Wales before the money runs out. They have programmes that have been in place for 10 years and they say it takes about that long for any meaningful change to happen for education standards when you have large numbers from deprived backgrounds.

    So I guess it’s a combination of everything lack of money, lack of skilled education workers all round, lack of long term support programmes etc…

    There’s not a great deal anyone can do about the home environment some parents will never be able to give the kids the motivational, aspirational or help with learning support they need because they’ve come from generation after generation of forgotten underachievers. To break the cycle starts and finishes with the school environment. To suggest children are doomed to fail because their parents and older siblings amount to very little means to impose a rigid class system that we are so desperate to break free of.

    Again, worth spending the money at the school level to install better facilities, inspirational teachers. This might make kids want to go to school – perhaps even if it is because it’s better than being at home. Then more might learn something and if it turns out loads more educated pupils who are then capable and self assured enough to go onto college and get jobs then it’ll reduce unemployment and poverty in the area. Then they can be the supportive parents to their kids that their own parents weren’t equipped to be – thus breaking the vicious inter-generational cycle.

    If there are 2 things I think they should spend money on its health and education – sadly we are getting short shrift on both round here.


    Council Watcher

    GWE – here is an interesting article that shows the School Improvement service itself was not up to par at one time when Estyn inspected — https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/school-improvement-consortium-back-education-13909363

    Matt the point you make about London schools and improving standards is actually replicated in a number of inner city schools – Birmingham being another with their schools outperforming Wrexham despite all of the classes dealing with a multi-racial mix of children and most not having English as a first language- what binds them and gives motivation is their culture is determined to do better than a previous generation. Do we have that type of motivation in many of our local school children?



    I guess that is the case that more often than not the standards improving services need improving themselves! I notice they mentioned some kind of objectives they want to achieve by 2020 but did not really state what those were. I’m always wary of that in terms of PR talk where organisations or even entire countries set out huge goals for 2020 because it sounds like a nice bold memorable number in people’s minds – a good sound bite. With that being less than 18 months away we’ll see if they do start improving local schools.

    Also, the reason I mentioned London particularly is because it is the case in Manchester that they are struggling to get the improvement gains in inner city schools that London have with similar mixes of children and many of the reasons I mentioned above are cited to be the issue – shorter improvement programmes, less funding.


    I think locally the type of improvement culture amongst children from some families is very low because they have very low expectations due to the background they have come from. But that is surely something that needs to be tackled – we can throw millions at a cultural arts hub that apparently hopes to inspire local artists and performers etc… Of course it’s not doing it yet but that was the intention of making a cultural change.

    When you look at the money being put into developing Cambria and Glyndwr they want to attract students from further afield and improve the offering to local students as well – that’s a type of educational culture shift. They’re also trying to build new and improved primary schools – both Welsh and English and expand at that level and update and expand existing ones. So the weak link is at the secondary school level – that’s where kids are getting let down – during the teen ages when they are most impressionable.


    Council Watcher

    Perhaps one option to pilot would be for Coleg Cambria to take over one of the Secondary School in Wrexham- it would certainly shake up the secondary school market and offer a different choice. At prsent there are very large numbers of young people being bused to schools over the boredr into England or Shropshire.

    The Coleg Cambria ‘brand’ and proven track record would certainly help to retain these pupils in Wrexham. Something has to be done soon as we are failing young people- the sad thing is that you can’t turn something like this around over night and many of those in secondary schools now are heading for failure- it needs to tackle issues from Primary school- success may take 10 years.



    At Grove Park we were taught brevity.



    I’m not sure where this is going but I thought the reason children go to school is to learn ???. So doesn’t that mean from the bottom up it should be all of the rules applied, therefore that means Uniform, lessons, manners, behaviour etc etc, from what I see very few of the above are adhered to at some schools i.e some wearing trainers were allowed in then it got to clothing, some of the children look as though they are going to a gym and not to school with the stuff they wear, so lets get it back on track and make all schools the same, wear correct uniform ( correctly worn) and then maybe the rest will follow.

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