Voice Official Response: Extending the school inspection cycle: Education (Amendments Relating to the Intervals for Inspection of Education and Training) (Wales) Regulations 2020
Background: The Welsh Government is consulting on amending the regulations to extend the school inspection cycle for one period, in order to support education reforms.
Summary: Voice Cymru strongly agrees that there should be a partial suspension of school inspections in 2020-2021 to:
- enable schools to put their plans in place for the implementation of the new curriculum from 2022;
- provide opportunities for schools to receive more informal support and feedback from Estyn on their self-evaluation and accountability processes;
- enable Estyn to undertake data gathering and analysis, which will further assist schools in their planning for the new curriculum and inspection regime;
- enable final work to be completed on Estyn’s self-evaluation toolkit following further feedback from schools;
- ensure that the wellbeing of the education workforce is considered so there is not undue pressure placed on education professionals at all levels of the workforce while they are working on the new curriculum planning; and
- enable Estyn’s support to complement the scrutiny from the consortia and local authorities so that there is not duplication of what other stakeholders are doing.
Therefore, Voice considers that it is eminently sensible for the Welsh Government to extend the current inspection cycle from 7 to 8 years.
We hope that the Welsh Government will work closely with Estyn and other stakeholders to ensure that schools and the education workforce are supported in planning and implementing the new curriculum, including:
- paying close attention to staff wellbeing and workload; and
- ensuring that there is no duplication of the type of scrutiny placed on schools and, particularly, on the requirements for data from schools.
Voice will also continue to work with stakeholders to promote the best interests of our members in this regard.