The pressures on schools to cope with a rapidly changing education system in Wales with variable levels of support put leaders under immense pressure. I seek to provide schools with the support of ‘how to do things’, rather than the ‘what must be done.’

Who I am

I am Gareth Coombes an Educational Consultant with substantial experience in a range of contexts and roles including primary headship and senior roles in school improvement services in several local authorities.


My Background

I have held the following roles:

  • Lead Adviser in Newport 2005 – 2012.
  • Adviser in Torfaen 2002 – 2005.
  • Primary school headteacher for eight years.
  • Trained Team Estyn Inspector qualified to inspect both Foundation Phase and Key Stage 2.
  • Local Authority representative on Estyn re-visits to schools.

My Current Experiences

My current work in schools includes:

  • Working across a diverse range of schools in Wales to achieve excellence.
  • Successfully working to remove schools from Estyn categories.
  • Excellent record of working to secure school improvement in numerous authorities.
  • Leading Performance Management in Central South Consortium.
  • Lecturing on two modules of the University of South Wales MA in Leadership.

Previous Experiences

Prior to my current work I had responsibilities for:

  • Lead Adviser in Newport LEA (2005 – 2012) – working as a key player in the highly successful advisory service that achieved a rating of ‘Excellent’ for school improvement. Newport is the only local authority in Wales to achieve this and for the two previous inspections the highest awarded judgement was also given.
  • Developing leadership at all levels within 52 primary schools in Newport LEA.
  • Led the School Effectiveness Framework pilot in South East Wales.
  • International working on educational leadership.
  • Chair of South East Wales National Professional Qualification for Headteachers (NPQH). Post held for two years.
  • Led the team that created the internationally acclaimed learning resource for the Ryder Cup.

Key Competencies

  • Influencing skills
  • Strong evaluation skills
  • Data analysis skills
  • Clear evidence based analysis
  • Effective planning for improvement
  • Building leadership capacity
  • Deep understanding of learning and teaching and how to improve
  • Building successful teams
  • Mentoring and coaching

Why am I doing this?

As I become older in life I have found there are fewer certainties than you thought! However those that you still hold to be certain are deep. My business is about working with schools around those certainties. They are that:

  • Every child has a right to the best education possible and as leaders we have a huge influence on the quality of education and outcomes for each learner.
  • All school leaders wish to make the school the best it can be.
  • There are a few key factors that are centrally linked to successful schools and these can be achieved by all.
  • There are a series of particular actions that make successes much more likely  and sustainable.
  • Long term success is much more likely through effective partnership working both within and across schools.

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