Agenda Item No. 8


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Scrutiny Committee [Lifelong Learning]: 20th January 2014


Report of the Chief Learning and Skills Officer


Summary of School Inspection Reports for the Autumn Term 2013


Purpose of the Report

1.         To up-date Members on the results of school inspections under the new framework for the autumn Term 2013.


1.         That Members note the inspectors' judgements about the schools inspected during the autumn term.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To develop a shared understanding about the outcomes of school inspections, according to the new arrangements.


2.         In September 2010 Estyn School Inspection Common Inspection Framework (CIF) was introduced across all schools in Wales.

3.         The CIF introduces some significant changes:

·           Only three Key Questions instead of seven;

·           Two new overarching judgements;

·           More specific reference to the need to promote learner wellbeing in parallel with standards;

·           More specific reference for practitioners and school leaders to work with others to secure best practice and hence school improvement.

4.         An overview of the CIF is outlined in Appendix 1.

Relevant Issues and Options

5.         The following schools inspected during the autumn 2013 term were: Holton Primary, St Bride's Playgroup (Non-Maintained), St Donats Playgroup (Non-Maintained), ST Helens Infants and Bute Cottage Nursery (Appendix 2).

6.         A summary of the inspection findings are appended to this report.

7.         The purposes of inspections are to:

·           Provide accountability to the users of the services and other stakeholders through public reporting on providers;

·           Promote improvement in education and training; and

·           Inform the development of national policy by Welsh Government.

8.         School inspections are governed by the Education Act 2005 and related regulations.  Inspections must be conducted by teams of inspectors, led by a HMI, additional inspector or registered inspector, and must result in a written report.  Section 28 of the Education Act 2005, says that inspectors must report on:

·           The educational standards achieved by the school;

·           The quality of education provided by the school;

·           How far education meets the needs of the range of pupils at the school;

·           The quality of leadership in and management of the school, including whether the financial resources are managed efficiently;

·           The spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils at the school; and

·           The contribution of the school to the wellbeing of pupils.

9.         During all core inspections, the inspection team will consider whether the school needs any follow-up activity.

10.      When conducting school inspections, the main forms of evidence considered are:

·           Briefings from local authorities;

·           Documentary evidence, including data on pupils' performance and progress;

·           Observation of teaching or training sessions and other activities;

·           Samples of pupils' work;

·           The views of pupils and stakeholders; and

·           Discussion with staff, leaders and managers, governors and others.

11.      The reporting inspector is responsible for producing a final inspection report that is clear to a lay audience and helpful to the school.  In most cases, the main body of the report will be no longer than five pages.

12.      The structure of the inspection report is based on two overall summary judgements, three key questions and ten quality indicators and will take the following form:

13.      Summary

·           Overall judgement on the school's current performance

·           Overall judgement on the school's prospect for improvement

Main findings


Key Question 1: How good are outcomes?


·           Standards

·           Wellbeing

Key Question 2: How good is provision?


·           Learning experiences

·           Teaching

·           Care, support and guidance

Key Question 3: How good are leadership and management?


·           Leadership

·           Improving quality

·           Partnership working

·           Resource management

14.      the two overall summary judgements and the judgements for the three key questions and the ten quality indicators will be based on a 4-point scale:

·           Excellent - Many Strengths, including significant examples of sector-leading practice

·           Good - Many strengths and no important areas requiring significant improvement

·           Adequate - strengths outweigh areas for improvement

·           Unsatisfactory - Important areas for improvement outweigh strengths

15.      During autumn 2013 the overall judgements achieved by Vale of Glamorgan schools which were inspected were as follows:


                              Overall Judgement


Current Performance

Prospects for Improvement







Bute Cottage



St Donats Playgroup



St Helens Infants



St Bride's Playgroup




16.      The LA fund eight playgroups for educational places, all eight are open to inspection in the same way as primary/secondary schools.  While the responsibility for producing the action Plan rests with the schools / Playgroups, the authority also has a number of key responsibilities.  These include:-

·           The local authority and regional school improvement service clearly have a role to play in working with a school in developing it's PIAP but it is ultimately the governing body's responsibility;

·           Ensuring that any issues identified by Estyn relating to the Local Authority are addressed;

·           Ensuring that delivery of the action plan is monitored through advisor visits to schools;

·           Supporting schools to raise standards through identification and sharing of good practice.

17.      In all instances the Directorate of Learning and Skills will work with schools to ensure an effective and robust action plan is developed to build upon areas of strengths and to address and identified shortcomings.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

18.      Follow-up activity for schools placed in a category will be resourced through the School Improvement Service.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

19.      None.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

20.      End of Key Stage Assessment is a statutory obligation.

Crime and Disorder Implications

21.      There are no crime and disorder implications.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

22.      Welsh medium schools undergo school inspections by Estyn according to the same Common Inspection Framework, but through the medium of Welsh.

Corporate/Service Objectives

23.      This report supports the Council's corporate objectives for Education and Lifelong Learning and the priorities identified in Education 2015.

24.      This report supports the objectives listed in the Service Plan for School Improvement 2012/2013.

Policy Framework and Budget

25.      The recommendations in this report are within the existing policy framework and budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

26.      Not applicable.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

27.      Lifelong Learning.

Background Papers

Estyn common inspection framework for schools


Contact Officer

Lynette Jones, Head of School Improvement and Inclusion


Officers Consulted

Meryl Plummer, Lead Officer for School Improvement


Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill, Chief Learning and Skills Officer