Estyn & Curriculum for Wales

Estyn responds to 'A Learning Inspectorate'

Estyn sets out how it will inspect schools during Curriculum for Wales development

Below is our analysis of the proposed changes announced by Estyn in their response to Prof Graham Donaldson’s review of the inspection process ‘A Learning Inspectorate’ (

Any changes will be implemented following full consultation with all Estyn’s stakeholders.

As always this is our interpretation of Estyn’s announcement, please also read the original document here

Phase 1 - Transitional year (2020-2021)

A pause in inspection has been proposed for all maintained schools from September 2020 to August 2021, except those in Special Measures or Significant Improvement. However, Estyn intends to reserve the right to carry out an inspection where safeguarding or quality of education a concern.

This pause in inspection process will allow Estyn to ensure all inspectors have a deep understanding of the reform process for schools.

Estyn have also announced a shift in their role which sees a move towards a more collaborative approach and a focus on professional learning for schools. During this transitional year this shift will happen through:

  • Direct inspector engagement visits to the majority of schools
  • Training for inspectors on the issues around curriculum reform
  • A coordinated engagement programme with regional consortia & LAs.

Phase 2 – from September 2021

A new inspection framework will be introduced & elements of Phase 3 piloted. The changes will include:

  • No summative gradings in inspection reports
  • Greater emphasis on self-evaluation during the inspection process
  • A peer self-evaluation process supported by regional consortia

Phase 3 – from 2024 at the earliest

Schools deemed ready, will move to a further new inspection process. This will include:

  • Validation of the school’s SER by Estyn
  • An inspection process that probes further on internal self-evaluation judgements
  • Estyn will report on their confidence in a school’s ability to effectively self-evaluate. These may appear in reports as: Fully confident, partially confident, not confident
  • Inspections every 3-4 years.

Why do we summarise official documents?

We believe we all have a responsibility to ensure our new Curriculum for Wales is the best that it can be. We also know that educating the next generation is a really tough job and it leaves little time to read or respond to official documentation. Our analyses aim to highlight key points to give teachers and leaders a starting point for further, deeper reading. Our aim is to support teachers and leaders to engage and have their say in the future of education in Wales.

A Little More About Us

Who are we? - We are Finola & Jane, Literacy & Numeracy specialists, with 35+ years of teaching, training & leadership experience between us.

What's our experience? - We have both worked for Welsh Government supporting schools & senior leaders across Wales. We have held senior leadership posts, delivered support to strategic education advisers, both hold school governor posts and have published curriculum support guidance with Oxford University Press...but if you need to know more visit our website for testimonials from schools we've worked with.

Why should you book our support? - Put simply, because we believe in impact. We do exactly what our name suggests. Our workshop keeps things simple and ensures school actions really work. Our focus is always on delivering measurable impact for pupils

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