As you may know, education in Wales is undergoing significant change. Here are a few top facts to be aware of:
- The Welsh government’s new Curriculum for Wales arrives in 2022.
- They have already consulted broadly about the forthcoming curriculum and its areas of learning and reporting.
- They are consulting on the parental right to withdraw a child from Religious Education and Relationships and Sex Education
- You can find out more on the Education is Changing website.
It is not only the curriculum that is changing.
Estyn is reviewing its inspection framework
The inspectorate for Welsh education Estyn is asking for feedback on its proposals for how it will inspect schools in the future. It wants to engage with parents across Wales to get views and ideas that will help them shape the way they inspect schools and pupil referral units.
It is their second consultation on shaping inspection to support education reform in Wales.
Why is it important for parents to respond to Estyn?
The open consultation is a good opportunity for parents to consider what they get out of school inspections, and if they use and value Estyn’s performance reports when selecting a school for their child.
Parentkind encourages all parents to fill in Estyn’s short questionnaire individually, to ensure that your parent voice is heard. It is a great opportunity to have a direct input when the inspectorate firms up plans for its new framework. However, if any of our ideas spark your imagination, then feel free to mention Parentkind in your response. Additionally, if you think that parental engagement in education is of crucial importance in improving outcomes for children, you could also mention our Blueprint for Parent-Friendly Schools. We would like to see it adopted by governments in the UK and rolled out to schools nationally. Ideally, we want school inspection bodies such as Estyn and Ofsted to include a judgement on how well schools engage their parent community, and specify parental engagement strategies within reports.
What should parents consider when it comes to school inspections?
Giving feedback to a consultation is a great way for parents to make their voice heard in education, and amplify parental ideas and concerns. You may already have a specific response in mind, but if not, it may be helpful to consider some or all of the following questions in gathering your thoughts.
- Will Esytn’s proposed changes provide you with the right information about your child’s school?
- Do you value the current summary grading system of ‘Excellent’ / ‘Good’ / ‘Adequate’ / ‘Satisfactory’?
- Would you like Estyn to routinely inspect how well a school engages its parents as part of its report?
- Can you think alternative ways you would like Estyn to engage with parents during inspections?
- What more can Estyn do to take the views of parents into consideration as part of the school inspection process?
- What more can Estyn do to win your complete confidence in the accuracy and fairness of its reports?
- Are there any issues that you can think of at school that tend to slip under the radar of routine inspections that you think inspectors should take an interest in?
- Do you think inspectors should look at school performance data, or judge their report based on observation of classes and conversations with teachers, pupils and parents?
- Would you value Estyn having a separate section in inspection reports for secondary schools to capture sixth form standards?
- Do you support or oppose Estyn's proposal to reduce the notice period schools are given about an inspection from 15 to 10 working days? Would it have an impact upon you?
- Are Estyn reports valuable in helping parents to understand a school's strengths and weaknesses?
How can parents give feedback?
You can respond directly to the consultation on the Estyn website. You have until it closes on Monday 2nd December to have your say.