Estyn report 2017-18. The Primary Sector.


The infographic provided in the Estyn report provides an excellent spot check for the journey towards curriculum reform. In many ways it could act as a moment of self evaluation or an opportunity to reflect on your journey so far. – RJC7


Literacy, Numeracy and ICT skills:

In weaker schools, the rate of pupils’ progress tends to vary too
much. They may make suitable progress for their age and ability in one year, but then make limited progress in another. This means that their progress is not as good as it should be over time and they do not achieve high standards relative to their starting points.

In many Welsh-medium schools pupils develop their communication skills equally as well in both English and Welsh by the end of key stage 2.

This would suggest that being bilingual does not have a detrimental impact on standards but actually the opposite. – RJC7

In a few schools, more able pupils do not achieve well enough or make the progress they could.

In around a fifth of schools, pupils do not improve their reading skills well enough year-on-year, often because there is not a whole school approach to developing pupils’ reading skills.

In schools where standards of writing are adequate, pupils do not make enough progress in addressing basic and repeated errors in spelling and punctuation as they move through the school.

Wellbeing and attitudes to Learning:
However, in around half of schools, pupils’ ability to work independently and persevere to solve problems, make decisions about their own learning, and seek alternative solutions remain areas in need of improvement.

However, in around half of schools, pupils do not influence important school decisions. In many excellent schools, pupil leadership groups influence all aspects of school life, including curriculum development and pedagogy.

In most excellent schools, pupils stretch and challenge
themselves. They discuss alternative approaches to solving problems, persevere and work together to check that their answers are reasonable. In these schools, pupils take a lead role in determining how and what they learn. They understand how to achieve their personal learning targets

A key aspect of the report is the voice of the listener having an impact on all aspects of the school. To develop independent learning and resilience as they embark on a journey of development. – RJC7

Teaching and Learning Experience:

The slight difference in the judgements for ‘teaching’ and ‘teaching and learning experiences’ is as a result of a few schools needing to make further improvements to their curriculum to support pupils’ learning.

Teachers’ plans do not always contain appropriate or clear information about the knowledge, understanding and skills that pupils should acquire as they progress through the school. As a result, teaching does not build systematically on pupils’ previous achievements.

Where teaching and learning experiences are effective they provide challenge, engage pupils, and build systematically on their knowledge, skills and experiences.

Around half of the recommendations in this inspection area relate to the quality of teaching. Ensuring that teaching meets the needs of all pupils, particularly those who are more able, and sharing good practice between teachers so that the quality of teaching is at least good in all classes across the school, continue to be areas in need of improvement in the primary

Nearly one half of schools need to improve the breadth, balance and appropriateness of their curriculum, in particular to ensure that they implement the ethos and principles of the foundation phase consistently and effectively.

Many key messages especially the experiences needed in the Foundation Phase, the need for effective planning around key skills and of course to differentiate appropriately and thus providing a challenge for the more able pupils. -RJC7

Care, Support and Guidance:

Care, support and guidance are a strength in the sector, with good or better outcomes in nine-in-ten primary schools.

Well done indeed, we truly are a caring nation and that is seen in abundance in our primary schools. -RJC7

In around a fifth of schools, the provision for listening and responding to the views of pupils is exemplary. In these schools, leaders seek pupils’ views about the strategic direction of the school. For example, pupils contribute to the school improvement plan and take part in evaluation activities, such as learning walks.

Leadership and Management :

Leadership and management are good or better in eight-in-ten primary schools. In the most effective schools, leaders have a clear vision and share this successfully with staff and stakeholders.

As report by OECD a vision is essential to set the ethos and direction of a school. – RJC7

In a fifth of schools, where leadership is less than good, senior leaders do not work with staff to develop a clear and shared vision. In these schools, there is a lack of strategic focus on how actions will improve outcomes for all pupils, particularly the more able.

In almost two-thirds of schools, governors use their knowledge of the school appropriately to challenge the work of senior leaders and ask pertinent questions about school performance.

In many schools, self-evaluation outcomes inform improvement priorities directly. In these schools, leaders and teachers undertake regular monitoring activities that form part of a continual conversation about the effectiveness of the school’s
provision with clear links to outcomes for pupils.

In schools where self-evaluation and school improvement systems are less than good, senior leaders do not focus these processes enough on outcomes for pupils or carry them out with enough rigour. In these cases, staff do not ‘own’ the school’s improvement priorities or understand their role
in achieving them.

How involved are your staff in the strategic direction of the school? – RJC7

In a fifth of schools where professional learning is weak, leaders do not focus well enough on improving the quality of teaching. They do not consider the benefit of professional development activities strategically or consider how these will benefit pupils and staff in the long term. This leads to a variability in the quality of teaching that impedes pupil progress over time.

The above highlights key issues for the Primary Sector and provides a clear criteria in terms of how Estyn work and it also gives an indication to understanding what makes a school effective based on the evidence that they have gathered. – RJC7

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