Welsh education: Estyn urges more help for best pupils

Wales’ schools inspection body Estyn is concerned not enough is being done to get the most out of the best pupils. In its annual report, Estyn said fewer schools achieved good or excellent inspections compared with last year. This is from the BBC…

Opposition parties said it made for “sad reading about the current state of education in Wales”.

The Welsh government said the areas identified as needing attention – literacy, numeracy and strengthening leadership – mirrored its priorities.

Estyn said there are some strengths across the board in Welsh schools but there was also too much “unevenness”.

One in every seven secondary schools was considered excellent, but equally, one in every seven was deemed unsatisfactory, it said.

Chief inspector Ann Keane said she believes some teachers give better support and attention to lower achievers, which is why, in part, fewer pupils gained grades A and A* at GCSE.

“We see in our inspection too much unevenness in the classroom. This is something for heads to challenge and teachers themselves,” she told BBC Radio Wales.

“It is an issue in a quarter of primary schools and a half of secondary schools that there is this unevenness.

“It is a matter not merely of tackling poor and mediocre performance but also managing the changes we need to see happening in the curriculum, in the classroom, in order to improve those standards of literacy and numeracy that really underpin all the achievements that pupils can make.”

The report said: “In a significant minority of primary schools, more able pupils do not make enough progress.

“Although most go on to achieve the expected level for their year group, too few of these pupils gain the higher levels.”

It also expressed concerns about the level of reading, writing and numeracy skills across all sectors.

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