Wales school 'spot checks' could start in September

Wales school 'spot checks' could start in September

Wales school 'spot checks' could start in September

First published in Gwent news
Last updated
South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

INSPECTORS in Wales could impose 'spot checks' on schools from September this year, in line with similar plans being mooted in England.

This week Plaid Cymru called on Wales' schools inspectorate Estyn to carry out 'spot check' visits, following the news that Prime Minister David Cameron is to order the English inspectorate Ofsted to consider surprise inspections in response to allegations that extremists "infiltrated" school governing bodies in Birmingham.

Plaid's shadow education minister Simon Thomas said yesterday: "We need to consider giving Estyn the ability to go into schools to see the real situation in the classroom, without giving months’ notice.

"I hope that that is a suggestion that the Welsh Government can take forward."

A Welsh Government spokesman responded that the department is "not in favour" of schools being able to predict when Estyn will inspect, and changes will come into force in September.

"At the moment schools are required to provide a three week notice period for a pre-inspection parent’s meeting, which determines the amount of notice Estyn has to provide to schools about forthcoming inspections," he said.

"However, changes have been made to regulations that will come into force in September 2014, that will reduce the ability of schools to be able to predict when their next inspection will take place, and removes [this] requirement.

"As of September 2014, Estyn can change the notice period for inspection if it so wishes, but that is a decision for them make."

Owen Hathway, NUT Wales policy officer said that "snapshot" no-notice inspections are "not an appropriate way" to pass judgement on a school.

“For accountability to be meaningful there needs to be proper professional and respectful dialogue," he said.

"It should not be an exercise in walking in and out, giving no chance to see the work of the school in the round.

"We know that over 50,000 teaching days are lost each year due to stress related illnesses. We should be doing everything possible to reduce that figure.

"There is a genuine concern across the entire teaching profession that such changes to the inspection system will simply add to the stress levels of teachers and do nothing to improve teaching."

The Argus has contacted Estyn for a comment.

Comments (6)

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11:17am Wed 11 Jun 14

Good Job No Kids says...

Go and have a serious look at Caerleon Comp.

Staff Moral is through the floor due to exceptionally poor budgeting and Year 7 for September is massively undersubscribed.

Very few people have anything good to say about this school anymore, it used to be one of the best in the area. Results are still reasonable due to the calibre of pupil but things are on a rapid downward spiral. Where has all the money gone? in recent years there was a budget surplus?
Go and have a serious look at Caerleon Comp. Staff Moral is through the floor due to exceptionally poor budgeting and Year 7 for September is massively undersubscribed. Very few people have anything good to say about this school anymore, it used to be one of the best in the area. Results are still reasonable due to the calibre of pupil but things are on a rapid downward spiral. Where has all the money gone? in recent years there was a budget surplus? Good Job No Kids
  • Score: 6

11:54am Wed 11 Jun 14

landyman3030 says...

I believe that school inspectors should have the power to spot check a school without notice IF there are misgivings about in house competence or serious concerns over the school performance.
I don't think it should be used to just check on teachers day to day.
If you get a bad day you could get a Spanish Inquisition started looking for something that is not there and push moral further down.
Banding schools in Wales is giving schools performance targets which can be read in many ways. Some positive, some not so. Depend how you WANT to interpret them it seems.
More funding in the right areas of schools curriculum would go a long way i believe instead of the scattergun method used now. Take the political correctness out and support subjects that will actually be useful to kids.
I think the BTEC vocational courses available to pupils in schools who are not academic is amazing. Why beat them over the head with science and algebra when you can start them off on practical courses that lead to college and on. Positive education has got to be the way forward without the big stick behind teachers....unless they need it.
I believe that school inspectors should have the power to spot check a school without notice IF there are misgivings about in house competence or serious concerns over the school performance. I don't think it should be used to just check on teachers day to day. If you get a bad day you could get a Spanish Inquisition started looking for something that is not there and push moral further down. Banding schools in Wales is giving schools performance targets which can be read in many ways. Some positive, some not so. Depend how you WANT to interpret them it seems. More funding in the right areas of schools curriculum would go a long way i believe instead of the scattergun method used now. Take the political correctness out and support subjects that will actually be useful to kids. I think the BTEC vocational courses available to pupils in schools who are not academic is amazing. Why beat them over the head with science and algebra when you can start them off on practical courses that lead to college and on. Positive education has got to be the way forward without the big stick behind teachers....unless they need it. landyman3030
  • Score: 16

11:59am Wed 11 Jun 14

old dissentor says...

Will unannounced spot checks raise standards - NO, It has been turned down before because it does not work. This is mere political posturing and has no basis in theory, in educational practice or even common sense. I am ashamed to think that Wales would just copy England without any real thought - our children deserve better.
Will unannounced spot checks raise standards - NO, It has been turned down before because it does not work. This is mere political posturing and has no basis in theory, in educational practice or even common sense. I am ashamed to think that Wales would just copy England without any real thought - our children deserve better. old dissentor
  • Score: 2

1:16pm Wed 11 Jun 14

exMark says...

My partner is a level 1 teaching assistant at an School I wont name in Abergavenny.

However when the teacher requires an afternoon off, my partner is expected to teach the lesson and look after the kids (reception class) for the afternoon, to save getting a supply teacher in.

She's neither paid or qualified to be in the classroom alone with the kids, let alone teach them.
My partner is a level 1 teaching assistant at an School I wont name in Abergavenny. However when the teacher requires an afternoon off, my partner is expected to teach the lesson and look after the kids (reception class) for the afternoon, to save getting a supply teacher in. She's neither paid or qualified to be in the classroom alone with the kids, let alone teach them. exMark
  • Score: 8

8:19pm Wed 11 Jun 14

Limestonecowboy says...

As far as I'm concerned should a teacher want to take time off & abandon their class then they're in the wrong job.
As far as I'm concerned should a teacher want to take time off & abandon their class then they're in the wrong job. Limestonecowboy
  • Score: -7

9:32pm Wed 11 Jun 14

iou123 says...

Limestonecowboy wrote:
As far as I'm concerned should a teacher want to take time off & abandon their class then they're in the wrong job.
Teachers (believe it or no)t do have a life outside of school, including families of their own. It may be that on very rare occasions, they may be required to take time off to tend to a sick child etc. The decision to take time out of the classroom is not taken nor granted easily. What about all the hours outside of school spent on planning, preparation in the evenings, weekends etc? Shall we stop all that as that makes us not fit to be parents?

Think before you pass comment Limestonecowby
[quote][p][bold]Limestonecowboy[/bold] wrote: As far as I'm concerned should a teacher want to take time off & abandon their class then they're in the wrong job.[/p][/quote]Teachers (believe it or no)t do have a life outside of school, including families of their own. It may be that on very rare occasions, they may be required to take time off to tend to a sick child etc. The decision to take time out of the classroom is not taken nor granted easily. What about all the hours outside of school spent on planning, preparation in the evenings, weekends etc? Shall we stop all that as that makes us not fit to be parents? Think before you pass comment Limestonecowby iou123
  • Score: 6

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