Inspection myths: busted!

We know that there are some common misconceptions about our inspections. Here, we bust the myths that can affect teachers in Wales.

If you want clarification about any aspect of Estyn’s inspection work then email or tweet us @EstynHMI using the hashtag #EstynMyths.

Curriculum for Wales

  • Inspectors will approach innovation in a positive way when schools take forward initiatives for the benefit of pupils. 
  • Any school can adapt their curriculum and approaches to professional learning as long as these lead to benefits to learners.
  • Schools won't need to provide a common list of newly devised enrichment activities and experiences for pupils.
  • Inspectors won’t expect to see schools delivering the digital competency framework from September 2016.
  • Inspectors won't expect to see a named person responsible for curriculum reform.
  • Governors of pioneer schools should be aware of how the school is involved in curriculum reform.
  • Schools won't be expected to arrange the curriculum into a particular format e.g. areas of learning and experience instead of subjects.


  • Schools don't have to go through a mock inspection before the real thing.
  • Schools don't need to cancel the Christmas concert to prepare for the inspection.
  • Inspectors won't turn up at school at 7am and leave after 7pm.
  • Schools don't have to provide lunches, cakes, biscuits or bowls of fruit for inspectors.
  • Schools don't have to set up meetings between their key partners and the inspection team.


  • Schools don't need to put all documentation onto memory sticks or an external hard drive for each inspector.
  • Schools don't have to write a brand new self-evaluation report for an inspection.
  • A school’s self-evaluation report doesn't need to have hyperlinks to all their policies and documents.
  • Schools don't need to revise all policies and schemes of work before the inspectors arrive.

Lesson observation

  • Teachers don't have to write a detailed lesson plan for every lesson to give to the inspector.
  • There isn‘t an ‘Estyn approved’ lesson structure or pattern. For example, for a lesson to be judged as effective, teachers don't need to set out the learning objective formally at the beginning of a lesson and finish with a plenary.
  • Schools don't need to create opportunities for pupils to show their skills in ICT, numeracy, literacy or Welsh in every lesson.
  • Teachers don’t receive a grade for each lesson that the inspectors observe, but they will have the opportunity to engage in professional dialogue with inspectors.


  • Inspection report judgements are not made purely on performance data prior to the inspection week.
  • A school’s categorisation won't dictate the inspection judgements it receives but will be considered by the inspection team along with other evidence.
  • An aspect of a school’s provision doesn’t need to be unique to achieve an ‘Excellent’ judgement.
  • Inspectors don’t keep their findings to themselves.  They will share them with senior leaders and the nominee before the end of the inspection.

Download our Inspection | Clarified document which will help to clarify even more common misconceptions about inspection requirements that affect teachers in Wales.