What information will Estyn require from a local authority before the inspection of one of its schools?

We expect the local authority to provide us with a briefing about the school before the inspection begins, including their view of the school’s performance.  If the school’s latest categorisation report provides this, then there is no need for the local authority to create an additional report.  Inspectors will take account of how long before the inspection this report was written.  However, the local authority is free to provide additional or updated information if it feels that this would help the inspection team.  We also expect the local authority to share with us any important information about the school’s context that would be helpful for the reporting inspector to be aware of.  For example, this could include information relating to staffing in the school or significant incidents in the community.

The information from the local authority, along with all other evidence, helps the reporting inspector to plan inspection activities and to develop appropriate questions to ask during the inspection.  It also helps inspectors to take account of relevant issues, for example when analysing data or when considering issues relating to provision or leadership.  Once the inspection is complete, the reporting inspector will reflect on the information provided by the local authority and share their views and comments on its usefulness with Estyn’s team of local authority link inspectors (again, taking account of when the report was written, if necessary).  Link inspectors consider feedback from reporting inspectors over time to build a picture of how well local authorities know their schools.