Changes to inspection arrangements from September 2017

Education in Wales is changing and so is Estyn’s approach to inspection. We are committed to ensuring that inspection supports improvement by only focusing on the most important areas that help learners achieve.  

The changes to inspections will take place from September 2017 and apply to all schools and work–based learning.

Watch our short animation about how we're changing inspections

What we will inspect

The new Inspection Framework is less detailed but focuses on the most important aspects:

  1. Standards
  2. Wellbeing and attitudes to learning
  3. Teaching and learning experiences
  4. Care, support and guidance
  5. Leadership and management

Inspectors will also focus on a thematic area which will help inform our thematic reports, the Chief Inspector’s Annual report and advice to Welsh Government.

What we will say

The current 4-point judgement scale will stay but its wording will be amended to focus on actions to be taken to support improvement:

  • Excellent – Very strong, sustained performance and practice
  • Good – Strong features, although minor aspects may require improvement
  • Adequate and needs improvement – Strengths outweigh weaknesses, but important aspects require improvement
  • Unsatisfactory and needs urgent improvement – Important weaknesses outweigh strengths

Reports will be shorter and there will no longer be an overall judgement on current performance or prospects for improvement.

Many aspects which we currently write about in our reports will only be included by exception, which means that they’ll only be there if they’re particularly strong or weak.

The timeframe

  • the notice period for inspections will be reduced to 15 days
  • inspections will typically take 4 days rather than 5

Inspection support

Our follow-up work is changing to be more supportive:

  • providers in follow-up will get more flexible support to help them make positive changes faster
  • local authority monitoring for providers in follow-up will cease and no providers will be placed in this category from September 2016 onwards. 

What’s happening next  

The new inspection guidance is still being refined and will be published for each sector in the summer term.  We’ll also be training our inspectors so they are fully skilled at inspecting under the new arrangements.