THE first of Estyn's monitoring visits last month has found that improvements to the education series were made a 'rapid pace' following a critical inspection in October 2012.

A follow up review was made last month to inspect the progress made by Pembrokeshire County Council in relation to three recommendations made by the education inspection authority.

The latest results have been welcomed by council leader Cllr Jamie Adams.

In a letter to chief executive Bryn Parry-Jones, also copied to the Welsh Government and Wales Audit Office, the assistant director Clive Phillips,

said the council had 'acted quickly and decisively' following the inspection in 2012.

He said that those at the top took 'difficult and sensitive decision to remove barrier to progress in other to bring about the necessary improvement'.

"These decisions were implemented carefully and have resulted in a complete restructure within the children and schools service. A new management team is working closely together as a cohesive group to embed change.

"There is a significant cage in culture within the authority demonstrated through greater openness and transparency," adds the letter.

The latest visit found that in the last 12 months rapid process to transform effectively arrangements for safeguarding in all education services and schools had been made.

It referenced the creation of an Integrated Safeguarding and Quality Assurance Service to provide robust structures and systems which allows for a constant approach to safeguarding children and young people.

"Information sharing at all levels is strength of the new systems," it states.

The Safeguarding Overview and Scrutiny Committee was found to provide good support and challenge to the cabinet member for safeguarding as well as officers and a junior Local Safeguarding Children's Board has been established to work in conjunction with the statutory LSCB.

"There has been significant improvement in the effectiveness of scrutiny by elected members in both the Safeguarding Committee and the Children and Families Committee. Members bring a robust challenge to the leader and the cabinet and hold them to account well," adds the letter.

It also states that the authority has improved the structure of its strategic planning since the inspection in 2012 with a clear hierarchy of plans providing a coherent structure.

A finial monitoring visit will be held to evaluate progress as a whole before deciding whether the authority remains in need of special measures.

Cllr Adams said the report marked a significant milestone for the Council.

“This is an important result for the Authority and demonstrates an improving confidence in our services” he said.

“More importantly, however, this is a significant result for the children of Pembrokeshire, all of whom should have the opportunity of receiving the very best education we can offer.”