Are comprehensive schools still working for our pupils?

Ysgol Uwchradd Caergybi

Last year, we marked the 65th anniversary of the NHS - famously founded by Welshman Aneurin Bevan.

This year, another one of our national institutions has reached that landmark.

The UK's first ever comprehensive school was opened in 1949, in Holyhead.

Wales' state secondary schools are all still comprehensives, but in England it is a different story, with hundreds of academies and free schools enjoying a lot more freedom.

Tom Sheldrick has this special report:

Ysgol Uwchradd Caergybi, in Holyhead, became a comprehensive school in 1949, amalgamating with the local grammar.

It was rated as 'unsatisfactory' by Estyn in 2012, but has since enjoyed 'significant improvement'.

Headteacher Adam Williams said that the way comprehensive schools are overseen by the local council is a successful partnership, allowing them to benefit from expertise, and work well with others, to make progress.

The Holyhead school has a high number of pupils from deprived backgrounds.

After significant upheaval in the 2000s, more than half of state secondary schools in England are now academies.

Newent Community School in Gloucestershire converted from comprehensive to academy status two years ago.

Principal Kirsten Harrison said her freedom from local authority control has helped drive the school out of special measures quickly.

Newent Community School has made changes to its curriculum and timetable.

The Welsh Government's Education Minister Huw Lewis has insisted that there is no complacency here, and pointed to a narrowing of the gap with England in this year's GCSE and A Level results as a sign of the comprehensive system's continuing success.