Over a year ago the cluster within which this small Church in Wales school worked was up for review by Powys CC and its future may have seemed in doubt. Those in the know- mindful of its long history of excellent inspection reports- could not imagine it not surviving what the Council euphemistically called modernisation for the cluster, but which we are used to seeing elsewhere called rationalisation.
Today Powys describes what it is developing as transformation and our members are at the heart of the action, regarded by all as "an exemplar of good practice." Further praise from Estyn is anticipated.
In a final report to Cabinet following an informal consultation on plans to close the school as part of a county-wide "school modernization" programme, Powys County Council officers stated:
"The responses to the consultation, the latest data and particularly the high standard of education at the school lead to the conclusion that Gladestry Church in Wales School should not close."
Everyone welcomes recognition that Gladestry is a flourishing school in every way. It has a rising intake, currently full, is self-sufficient, is properly meeting the needs of its community and is providing high quality education from very good buildings. The school achieved exceptionally high standards in its Section 50 and ESTYN school inspection report, which concluded that "the school provides very good value for money".
Powys County Council recognised Gladestry as an outstanding school. Not only does it provide a benchmark of best-practice for other schools throughout Powys, but the work undertaken by the Head is seen as exemplary practice within the Authority. Gladestry School's song 'Every Child' was released to highlight the campaign and could be seen on YouTube. It was a collaboration between the children, songwriter Jim Eliot and parent Rob Robinson. UNICEF liked the song so much that they showed it via their website.
In 2009 Gladestry Primary achieved six grade one and one grade two in the 2009 ESTYN inspection and was ranked as one of the top ten Primary Schools of the 257 inspected in Wales that year. The school was also awarded the highest marks possible, three grade 1s, in its Church in Wales inspection the same year. This placed it as the most successful such school in Wales.
It has excellent community links, claiming on its website at one time to have had the world's biggest coffee morning! Children also entertained delegates at the "Delivering Dignity" conference in Llandrindod Wells.