Chief Inspector welcomes enhanced role for Estyn in independent review

The Chief Inspector of Education and Training in Wales has welcomed a report that recognises the vital role that Estyn plays in enhancing the learning of young people in Wales. In an independent review of Estyn’s role and responsibilities, Professor Graham Donaldson has made proposals designed to allow school inspection work to contribute directly and constructively to the ambitious education reforms currently underway in Wales.

Chief Inspector, Meilyr Rowlands, says,

I am grateful to Professor Donaldson for his work on this review and am glad that the report recognises the strengths of the current inspection system. We now look forward to working with Welsh Government, schools, and other stakeholders to fully consider the report’s comprehensive proposals and how to take them forward. We will keep stakeholders informed as this work develops and be seeking their views through consultation to ensure they have their say.

Professor Graham Donaldson says,

Wales is working to develop a dynamic and successful education system with rising standards and schools committed to their own improvement. Evidence to my Review confirms that Estyn is central to that process. The unique professional experience and expertise of its HMI and peer inspectors are a key national resource. Inspectors should both evaluate how well the young people of Wales are being served by their schools and contribute directly to improving the quality of their learning. That means more emphasis on school self evaluation and improvement, more informative inspection reports, a more diagnostic approach to schools causing concern and more direct engagement of inspectors with reform.

The report 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.

Estyn welcomes views from all its stakeholders about the review and will be consulting widely soon. In the meantime, stakeholders can have their say by emailing [email protected].

Publication date

Thursday, 7 June, 2018