This is how school inspections are going to change in Wales

Education watchdog Estyn should no longer give headline rankings, a new review says. Instead there should be more frequent reports with schools publishing self evaluation documents alongside revised external inspections. Wales Online reports.

A three-yearly “state of the nation” report from the Chief Inspector of Schools in Wales should also be introduced.

Schools are currently ranked under four headings of excellent, good, adequate and needs improvement or unsatisfactory and needs urgent improvement. Under the proposed changes these would go.

Instead there would be more detailed evidence on how schools are performing and improving, said Professor Graham Donaldson, the architect of Wales’ new curriculum who was asked to head the review of Estyn by Education Secretary Kirsty Williams and Chief inspector for schools in Wales, Meilyr Rowlands.

In his 77-page report Professor Donaldson says the inspectorate is crucial to the success of the reforms but there is a danger that schools work to please inspectors rather than improving learning.

Self evaluation reports would provide more relevant and timely information better geared to improving learning – although how schools will self evaluate is not detailed in the review.

To help schools prepare for reforms coming in from 2022 inspections as currently run should be halted for a year from 2019 to 2020 to allow schools breathing space to plan the changes, the review also recommends.

Launching his report, Professor Donaldson said curriculum changes are on track with the aim of improving education and Wales’ results compared to other UK nations and internationally.

Keith Director, director of the National Education Union, said added: “Currently, inspection can be a stressful time for education professionals in schools. We welcome these announcements, and the potential positive impact the recommendations could have on our education system. We have long pushed for self-evaluation for the schools’ sector in Wales, and Professor Donaldson’s recommendations could help make this a reality. We look forward to working with Estyn and the Welsh Government to take these recommendations forward.”

Read more about the changes in the full article This is how school inspections are going to change in Wales

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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