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ATL Cymru: Estyn Report shows Steady but Slow Progress

Dr. Philip Dixon, Director of ATL Cymru,said: ‘Her last report displays the reasoned, forensic and measured approach that we have come to expect from the Chief Inspector, Ann Keane. The overall message is that we are making steady but slow progress. Again and again the Report points out that numeracy remains the weak point in many of our schools and colleges. We now need to bring the same focus to numeracy as we did to literacy, which has shown much greater improvement.

Leadership, too, is identified in the report as something that needs attention. The Welsh Government will need to be careful that its new accountability mechanisms, such as categorisation, do not increase the tendency for leaders to think only of their own institution, which Mrs Keane identifies as a key problem.

It is also vitally important to heed her call for a correction of the ‘imbalance’ between mechanisms aimed at increasing accountability and those which build capacity. The focus now needs to shift from measurement to nourishment.

Finally, one piece of the educational jigsaw still remains missing. While schools, colleges, and local authorities have been subject to robust investigation the Department for Education and Skills has escaped such scrutiny. It too would benefit from the rigorous inspection and forensic analysis that Estyn brings.