Welcome recommendations in Estyn review

Reaction to A Learning Inspectorate - Independent review of Estyn

By Elizabeth Williams, Senior Professional Officer (Wales)

"School inspections should be paused for a year while new reforms are brought in, according to a review of the inspectorate Estyn." (BBC News). It also recommends "more emphasis on schools evaluating themselves, with some earning the right to be free of traditional inspections".

A Learning Inspectorate - Independent review of Estyn contains 34 detailed recommendations. These include:

  • An enhanced role for Estyn in providing evaluation and support at the school, local authority, regional, and national levels.

  • Mobilisation of Estyn’s resources to kick-start reform with an initial short pause in the inspection cycle to allow inspectors and schools to work together on the reforms.

  • Increased responsibility for schools to evaluate their own performance with confirmation of the quality of that self-evaluation by Estyn.

  • More informative inspection reports with rounded evaluations replacing summative grades.

  • More tailored focus on schools causing concern with diagnostic inspections providing better insights into necessary changes.

  • Timely evaluation of progress with reforms nationally through thematic reporting and a three-yearly ‘state of the nation’ HMCI Report.

  • Further entrenching Estyn’s independence.

  • Need for alignment across the accountability landscape.

We broadly welcome this report, in particular the recommendation that school inspections should be paused during the curriculum changes.

Voice Cymru and the other unions raised this matter with Professor Donaldson and we are pleased that we were listened to. 

We hope that Estyn will accept Professor Donaldson’s recommendations and welcome the Chief Inspector’s comments that he will work with the ‘Welsh Government, schools, and other stakeholders to fully consider the report’s comprehensive proposals and how to take them forward’ and will ‘keep stakeholders informed as this work develops and be seeking their views through consultation to ensure they have their say’.

We look forward to taking part in that process.

Do let us know your views below or contact me direct.


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