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Estyn: More help needed for Wales' ablest pupils

04/02/2013 Kelly
Welsh schools inspection body Estyn has called on Wales' primary and secondary teachers to do more to ensure the country's ablest pupils realise their full potential.

In her annual report for Estyn, chief inspector of education and training Ann Keane reported that the proportion of Welsh schools given good or excellent ratings during inspections fell in 2011-12.

While one in seven schools were given an excellent rating, a similar proportion were deemed unsatisfactory, while around half of the schools assessed will require a follow-up visit, as will five out of the eight local authorities inspected.

Primary and special schools were also found to have done better than secondary schools, with there being more schools in the secondary sector at the extremes of excellent and unsatisfactory performance.

The report did highlight a number of positive developments, including in the implementation of the Welsh Baccalaureate and pupil wellbeing, but also cited standards of writing as a concern across all sectors, as well as uneven quality of leadership.

It stated: "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."

Ms Keane therefore called for a greater "capacity and quality" of leadership, not just from head teachers and local authority chief education officers, but also from those in teacher and teaching assistant jobs.

Welsh Conservatives education spokesperson Angela Burns described the report as "worrying but sadly not surprising reading" and called for Wales' best teachers to be encouraged to share best practice with others.

Yet Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teachers' union, criticised the report, accusing Estyn of turning into "the hit squad of the education minister" and asserting that it should be "acting in the interests of the public, not promoting the policy prejudices of ministers".

Posted by Theo Foulds


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