Ruth Davies, NAHT Cymru President, said: “Estyn’s Annual Report is always an important moment in the education calendar in Wales.
“As the report says, standards are good or better in around eight-in-ten primary schools and in nearly half of secondary schools inspected in 2018-19. The report paints a picture of a well-performing system, which is under significant strain and still has particular challenges to overcome.
“One significant challenge for schools in Wales, as is the case elsewhere in the UK, is the extent to which they can make a difference for pupils from low-income families. The UK’s record on child poverty is truly shocking, and whilst schools have a role to play, it is far from clear what they can realistically achieve when the problems that underpin inequality reach far beyond the school gates.
“The Pupil Development Grant is a welcome source of funding, but overall funding levels for pupils must be sufficient in the first place, and currently, it is a long way off what it needs to be.
“NAHT Cymru is supportive of the significant changes to the curriculum in Welsh schools. The moratorium on Estyn inspection has been useful in giving schools time to get to grips with the new curriculum. As Estyn acknowledges, there is clearly more work to do if the Welsh education system can say that it is truly meeting the needs of all learners.
“Inspection is a fundamental and necessary part of the system but it is time to change the narrative from high-stakes cold criticism to useful diagnostics that reflect the success of the profession and encourage improvement.”
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