Who are ESTYN?
Within Wales, all Educational Establishments are inspected by Her Majesty's Inspectorate ESTYN (an external, independent body), ensuring that standards of teaching and learning are maintained at a high level. The process of inspection is to explore, at depth, the various aspects of school life; all of which contribute to the education of Pupils in Wales.
How will ESTYN inspect the school?
ESTYN use a range of evidence bases including school documentation, listening to learner activities, surveys, lesson observations, looking at pupil work, walks of the school etc. to aid their judgements. All of these evidence bases are collated to provide ESTYN with an accurate picture of how a school is performing, and allow them to form an overall judgement on the performance of a school.
What aspects does ESTYN inspect?
ESTYN will look at 5 key areas, making a judgement on each one, following their inspection activities. These are:
- Standards: This aspect explores how well pupils are achieving within school and focuses on key skill areas including pupils' Literacy, Numeracy, ICT and Welsh skill development.
- Well-being and Attitudes to Learning: This aspect explores pupils attitudes towards school, wellbeing whilst at school and their engagement with their learning in school. It focusses on how pupils are encouraged to engage with their learning and make the most of their time at school.
- Teaching and Learning Experiences: This aspect focuses on the teaching that takes place within the school and looks at what the school is doing in order to promote pupils who are independent and confident in their learning. This includes areas such as planning, teaching, assessment and enrichment opportunities, as well as a variety of other areas.
- Care, Support and Guidance: This aspect explores the school's ethos and values and aims to find out what general school life is like for pupils at the school. It looks into what sort of processes/strategies are in place to ensure the ongoing care and support of pupils within a school. This aspect also explores the Safeguarding of Pupils, including whilst at school and staying safe online, and how the school supports and meets the needs of all pupils, including pupils with Additional Learning Needs (ALN).
- Leadership and Management: This is the largest aspect of the inspection and explores the school as a whole community. It looks at the effectiveness of the Headteacher and leadership team in leading the school, the management of resources and budgets, links with Parents and Pupils, links to the Community, the work and challenge provided by Governors and the processes in place to ensure that the school is always improving and evaluating its work (known as 'School Improvement Processes'); securing ongoing high standards for pupils within the school.
What categories will ESTYN use to judge the school's performance?
ESTYN will use 4 different categories to make a final judgement on the performance of the school. These are:
- Excellent :- A judgement of 'Excellent' is given in very few cases where there is proven evidence of highly effective practice. Where schools achieve 'Excellent' this highlights very strong, sustained performance and practice taking place. No further actions are required from ESTYN for schools receiving a judgement of 'Excellent' and these schools will often be required to write a report to share their practice with other schools/educational establishments.
- Good :- In the majority of cases, a judgement of 'Good' is the expected to be attained by a school. This highlights strong features within the school, although there may be some minor aspects that require improvement, in order to take the school forward. No further actions are required from ESTYN for schools receiving a judgement of 'Good'.
- Adequate and needs improvement:- Where practice in schools is not 'Good', a school may be judged as 'Adequate and needs improvement'. In this case the strengths do outweigh the weaknesses, however there may be some aspects within the area that require important improvements to be made.
- Unsatisfactory and needs urgent Improvement:- In cases where a school is not providing the expected standard of education for pupils, a school may be judged as 'Unsatisfactory and need urgent improvement'. In these cases the schools weaknesses significantly outweigh its strengths. Schools in this category would require constant monitoring from ESTYN to ensure changes are made rapidly.