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Welsh Government slammed for failing to properly communicate guidance on absence cover in Welsh schools

Welsh Conservatives have reacted to Estyn’s report on absence cover in Welsh schools, slamming the Welsh Labour Government’s failure to properly communicate official guidance to head teachers.

In its report, Estyn says nearly all primary schools have experienced difficulties arranging suitable cover for absent class teachers.

Inspectors found in the majority of schools, supply teachers use the school's documents to plan lessons, but when this information is not available, supply teachers focus on keeping children busy, rather than plan lessons that build on pupils' knowledge and skills.

Guidance was issued by the Welsh Labour Government in July 2015, but Estyn found that only a minority have read and acted on the document's recommendations.

Darren Millar AM, Welsh Conservative Shadow Secretary for Education, said this was “galling” given the millions of pounds the Welsh Labour Government spends on communication.

He said: “The report presents yet more evidence of the challenges faced by Welsh schools in a climate where too few teachers are being recruited and far too many are quitting.

“It is the responsibility of the Welsh Government to ensure that guidance on staffing cover is properly communicated to head teachers.

“Given that the Welsh Labour Government spends so many millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on communications, it is particularly galling to see that this advice has been heeded by so few schools.”