Chief Inspector's Annual Report highlights challenges for education and training in Wales

Standards of education in Wales have not improved in the main, according to the Annual Report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education and Training 2012-2013. However, some sectors such as special and independent schools are maintaining their high performance.

In primary schools, standards are similar to what they were last year with 72% being good or better and 28% adequate. Standards in secondary schools are generally more divided, with more excellence than in primary schools, but also more schools judged as unsatisfactory. Since last year, the proportion of secondary schools that are unsatisfactory has increased from 14% to 23%.

In other sectors, such as further education, adult and community learning and local authorities, standards are variable, with no excellence this year.

Ann Keane, Chief Inspector, says,

“We have been using the same framework in inspections over the last three years and I had hoped to see improvements in performance by now. It is disappointing that excellent schools remain in a small minority and that so many secondary schools are in need of follow-up inspections. Next year we shall be returning to over two-thirds of secondary schools and around half of primary schools to undertake follow-up visits.


“What schools and the post-16 sector need to improve is the quality of teaching, assessment, literacy and numeracy, self-evaluation and Welsh second language. I know that improvement is possible and that excellence is possible, as we have seen in the many case studies that are quoted in the annual report.


“However, the disappointing PISA results suggest that the professional development of teachers across Wales has not been as effective as that in other countries. We are also yet to see a sustained impact from the introduction of recent policies and initiatives. The pace of improvement needs to accelerate and leaders in schools need to keep pace with the best, both inside and outside Wales.”

It is clear that strong and visionary leadership is one of the key factors in making improvements, but the quality of leadership in schools is still uneven. Few schools and individuals can sustain high quality in isolation and a good deal of organisational improvement requires stronger efforts to work in partnerships – with other schools, parents, agencies and local authorities.

Ann Keane continues,

“Wales needs a better infrastructure to generate more collaboration and co-operation in education and training. Everyone in the education system needs to be willing to learn more, learn better and apply their learning.


“I strongly encourage all leaders, teachers and other education professionals to use the findings in the Annual Report to help them benchmark progress and drive their own improvement plans. A short film on the Estyn website shows how three providers have done this for themselves.”


Notes to Editors:

Best practice case studies


  • ISA Training, p125
  • Maesteg School, p71


  • Trinity Fields School and Resource Centre, p76


  • Mount Stuart Primary, p9
  • St Philip Evans Roman Catholic Primary School, p11 & p30


  • North Wales Adolescent Service, p99
  • Ysgol Eirias, p57


  • Ysgol Dyffryn Ogwen, p33
  • Ysgol y Garnedd, p63


  • HMP Usk, p135

Neath Port Talbot

  • Cwmtawe Community School, p69


  • Marshfield Primary School, p35
  • St. Joseph’s RC High School, p73


  • Portfield Special School, p30 & p78

Rhondda Cynon Taff

  • Vocational Skills Partnership, p124
  • Y Pant Comprehensive School, p35


  • Waunarlwydd Primary School, p61

Vale of Glamorgan

  • Cogan Nursery School, p65
  • Headlands School, p83
  • Ysgol Iolo Morganwg, p36


  • Adult and community learning, Wrexham, p16
  • Yale College (Mid and North Wales Skills Consortium), p12 & p39
  • Ysgol Penrhyn New Broughton, p16

About Estyn

Estyn is the Education and Training Inspectorate for Wales. Our aim is to achieve excellence for all in learning in Wales. We do this by providing an independent, high-quality inspection and advice service.

Our vision is to be recognised through the expertise of our staff as an authoritative voice on learning in Wales.

We are independent from, but funded by the Welsh Assembly Government (under Section 104 of the Government of Wales Act 1998).

For further information please visit our website

Publication date

Tuesday, 28 January, 2014