Estyn will not inspect maintained schools next academic year – Statement from Meilyr Rowlands, HMCI

I would like to thank all education professionals for your great work during this difficult time.

Our overriding aim as an inspectorate now is to support the Welsh education system and to provide government Ministers with independent and objective evidence and advice.

We suspended all core inspection and other visits as soon as practicable. Currently, we are keeping in touch with education providers remotely, through phone and video calls. It has been helpful to hear about how schools and other providers are supporting the wellbeing of learners and staff and how they are dealing with the current challenges.  We have also redeployed staff to Welsh Government and have contributed to the Continuity of Learning programme (see links). We will continue to keep in touch with providers remotely while they are physically closed for education.

We will not inspect maintained schools next academic year. Instead, after a suitable period for re-adjustment, inspectors will visit schools to listen to concerns and to identify what is working well. The purpose of our current conversations with schools and these future engagement visits is to gain a national picture and not to judge the approaches of individual schools, to gather intelligence on the education system as a whole, and to gauge the immediate and longer-term impact of the coronavirus crisis on learning and on the wellbeing of pupils and staff. They will also be an opportunity to capture and share innovative and effective practices.

We will not be continuing with formal monitoring visits for schools and other providers in follow up. Although a few schools would like us to do so, we do not think this is appropriate under the current circumstances. We have already written to and phoned providers currently identified as causing concern to explain what will happen next and to offer support.

These are uncertain times, and we are committed to being supportive and flexible in the way we gather and provide intelligence and advice for government. We will adapt our work as the situation develops and keep you fully informed of our intentions. We will also work with stakeholders from sectors other than maintained schools on how we will adapt our arrangements for them for the coming year.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries about our work.

Meilyr Rowlands

Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Education and Training in Wales

Publication date

Wednesday, 3 June, 2020
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