HM Chief Inspector of Education, supported by the Cabinet Secretary for Education, commissioned this Review of key aspects of Estyn’s role and operation. The Review’s prime purpose was to analyse the implications of the Welsh educational reform agenda for the work of Estyn, with a particular focus on school inspection. Although the Review was not asked to look at the entirety of Estyn’s work, it has also identified a number of wider implications.
The Review engaged with a wide range of individuals and organisations across Wales. In addition to examining an extensive body of documentation, interviews were held with Estyn staff, groups of headteachers and teachers, pupils and parents, and staff in local and national government, including from the regional consortia. Schools that had been inspected recently were visited and aspects of current inspection practice were observed. More widely, research and other evidence of trends and practice internationally were analysed. A formal Call for Evidence, undertaken by WISERD from Cardiff University, received 505 valid responses through an online questionnaire.
While much of the evidence is drawn from present and immediate past experience of inspection, the thrust of this report is forward looking. This report first considers key features of current educational reforms in Wales and their implications for inspection, accountability and improvement. It then examines the nature of Estyn’s approaches to its various roles and identifies relevant issues to be addressed. Sections 5 and 6 recommend ways in which Estyn’s contributions to providing assurance and improvement can be further enhanced. Finally, the report identifies wider implications for the work of Estyn and Welsh education.