On Friday 24th March, Gareth Davies MS for the Vale of Clwyd, was glad to visit Denbigh High School to meet the Headteacher, Mr. Glen Williams.
Gareth met with the school's Headteacher to have a constructive discussion about the issues facing the school and what improvements are being made. Denbigh High School has unfortunately been in special measures since 2018 due to issues including behaviour and attendance amongst students. However, Gareth was glad to hear that the school has been making positive progress in challenging times.
Additionally, Gareth asked if the report on Additional Learning Needs, 'ALN' has made any impact on the improvements being made to the school. Unfortunately, since COVID the school has seen more behavioural and attendance issues and the expansion of ALN process is part of this.
Speaking on this, Gareth said:
''It is a shame that behaviour and attendance of students is part of the reason why Denbigh High School was put into special measures, but it is positive that the Headteacher is accepting of the school's shortcomings and working hard to make improvements. However, COVID has impacted absolutely everything in Wales and education was no exception''.
''With our kids being in and out of school for two-years, the discipline and routines that school gave them was missing and we are dealing with the impact of that. I am confident that Denbigh High will work hard to prevent this from impacting their improvements''.
When asking what the school is doing to counter this, Gareth was made aware that due to the school's small size it does not have the financial ability to fully put in the support for ALN needs on the levels of other schools in the area. Albeit, he was encouraged to hear that over 20 students who joined the school midyear had improved behaviour due to the systems that have been put in place.
During a tour of the school, Gareth was glad to see that students with additional needs were being respected due to the school gaining funding for a sensory room. He was also encouraged to hear that teachers' tolerance of certain behaviours is different to what it was a few years ago due to recognition of differing needs. However, Gareth was downhearted to hear that the school's art and science rooms have not been remodelled since the 1970s and the school has no cue on when the school was see investment to improve these facilities. Commenting, Gareth Said:
''Despite the school being awarded funding for a sensory room, it is sad to hear that other vital facilities are not receiving appropriate funding such as science rooms. It is unfair on students to be taught in classrooms that were probably exactly the same when some of their parents may have been in that school''.
''I will push for the local authority and Welsh Government to improve the school and ensure that it has the resources to be able to get out of special measures''.