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Estyn: Inspecting for the Future (2024-2030)

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With a new inspection cycle starting in September 2024, we’re keen to hear your views on how we can best design and deliver our arrangements. The changes we adopt will build on the work we’ve already undertaken to evolve our practices.

Our aim is to bring external inspection and providers’ internal evaluation processes closer together. Better alignment of these processes will help support our ambition to improve the quality of education and training for children, young people, and lifelong learners.

We’ve made significant progress over recent years. The removal of summative judgements; the increased focus on professional dialogue – including through the well-established nominee model; increased discussion with classroom teachers and our inspection reports accompanied by an explanatory version for parents are just a few examples of how we’re evolving our approach. 

You can learn more about how these changes are making a difference by clicking on our Changes to Inspection YouTube playlist.

How our inspection approach is evolving

As we build on our progress, we are considering several ideas and proposals.  We are planning more regular inspections in schools and PRUs and looking to do so in a way which adds value and doesn’t add stress into the system. A model could involve an inspection, accompanied by an additional visit; tailored to the school to evaluate progress. This will mean two visits in a six-year cycle — with the aim of promoting improvement and providing more up-to-date information to parents, carers and pupils.

Involve: We will gather feedback widely — from senior leaders and principals, to teachers, lecturers, classrooms assistants, parents, learners, and the wider community.

Listen: After we hear back from each sector, we will use the feedback to develop a pilot for the new inspection approach for that sector.

Trial & review: Working with a handful of providers from each sector, we will begin to pilot the different inspection approaches. Feedback from these pilots will inform the next stage of development.

Progress to date

In summer 2023, we held public consultations on our inspection arrangements for youth services as well as schools and PRUs. The responses showed support for many of our proposals, for example stand-alone inspections for youth work services. For schools and PRUs the responses indicated support for proposals such as reducing the number of inspection areas from five to three, maintaining the ten-day notice period for an inspection and visiting every independent school at least twice during an inspection cycle.

You can read the full reports of our consultation findings here.

What’s next?

Our draft inspection arrangements are being refined as we hear back from our stakeholders via our consultations. During the autumn term 2023, schools and PRUs will be the first sectors to pilot our draft arrangements, providing us with another opportunity to gather feedback and refine our approach ready for September 2024. 

Also in the autumn term, we will be consulting on our draft inspection arrangements for local government education services, Welsh for adults and post-16 sectors (adult learning in the community, independent specialist colleges and further education).

If you work in these sectors, we are keen to hear your views so please complete the brief questionnaire. These questionnaires will launch 2 October and will remain open until 30 November 2023.

As with earlier consultations, once we have gathered and analysed the feedback, we will refine our proposals and undertake pilots in the spring term ready for the new framework to start in September 2024.

We are publishing all information related to Inspecting for the future (2024-2030) on this webpage, including access to our surveys, analysis of consultation responses and our developing approach and thinking around the new framework.

Rhidian Dafydd – Cyfarwyddwr Rhaglenni Strategol / Strategic Programmes Director – Estyn

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