Denbighshire was one of only two authorities to receive excellence for leadership in the last round of inspections and is the first to be awarded an excellent rating for leadership under a new inspection framework introduced across Wales.
One of the other main findings highlighted the recent merger of education and children’s services in the county as having a “positive impact” on services for children, young people and their families.
The inspection also highlighted that “the authority has a strong moral purpose that underpins its education services, focusing on an ambition to maximise the life chances of every learner.”
The annual report published by Estyn states: “In Denbighshire County Council, outcomes and the quality of education services are good and leadership is excellent. The authority’s political and strategic leadership is successful in managing change.
"For example, the restructure of education and children’s services has resulted in a coherent, blended service that is better able to meet the needs of children and young people. The connections between these services help the authority to respond quickly to the needs of families and pupils and help officers to implement intervention and support at an early stage.
"The authority knows its schools very well and has clear policies, strategies and processes for school improvement work. It has a suitable range of appropriate provision for vulnerable pupils, which is generally effective in meeting their needs. Performance across the secondary schools has been variable over the last three years, but standards at key stage 4 in nearly all key indicators broadly compare well over time with those in similar authorities across Wales, and with national outcomes.”
The Council has also provided a best practice case study to Estyn that has been shared with councils across Wales.Councillor Huw Hilditch- Roberts, Cabinet Lead Member for Children, Young People and the Welsh Language, said: “The opportunities for our children and young people are at the heart of everything that we do. We want them to have the best education possible and have plenty of opportunity to thrive and develop as individuals. We are delighted that this has been reflected in the annual Estyn report in such a comprehensive way.
“The original inspection report itself made very positive reading and we must pay tribute to the tremendous amount of work that goes on in the local authority to support schools and ensure that all children receive the best than can with the resources available .
"The approach to working with our partners in the public sector is also a key factor in this success. We are all working together with a common goal: to improve education and opportunities for our children and young people.“Education in Denbighshire has been a priority for a number of years and this is paying dividends. We have also made a further commitment to improving education over the coming years and our vision for the best possible education for our children and young people has not changed."