EDUCATION in schools in Wales has steadily improved this year, according to the Chief Inspector of Education and Training in his Annual Report published today.

Estyn, the inspectorate service for education and training in Wales, has acknowledged the improvements across South East Wales in their latest report.

In primary schools, 80 per cent of schools were judged as good or better, up from 70 per cent last year, and the proportion judged as excellent has doubled from four per cent to eight per cent.

Standards remain good or better in half of secondary schools, the same as last year.

Chief Inspector Meilyr Rowlands said: “For improvement to continue and in preparation for the new curriculum, schools need to prioritise improving pupils’ experience in the classroom.

“The distinguishing feature of schools that were judged excellent in 2017-18 is often down to the quality of the teaching and learning experiences they provide.

“The best schools have laid the foundations for a good education and in addition offer pupils stimulating experiences in the classroom that often relate to real life.

“In these schools, there is high quality teaching and strong leadership.

“There is much to do to prepare for the new curriculum and I encourage schools to read my annual report and use its resources to help their self-evaluation and improvement planning.”

The report said that: “In schools where standards are good, most pupils make at least good progress from their starting points. They build on their learning well as they move from class to class.”

A number of successful schools have already approached the curriculum change in a positive and enthusiastic way. They offer enriching classroom experiences to challenge pupils and develop their skills.

Teachers recognise that planning exciting opportunities, especially in real-life contexts, is the key to engaging pupils and helping them to become lifelong learners.

The report also highlights inspection findings from the other areas of education inspected by Estyn including all-age schools, special schools, independent schools and colleges, pupil referral units, local government education services, further education, work-based learning and Welsh for Adults.

Bellevue Day Nursery in Cwmbran was one of the schools to be graded as excellent by Estyn for their improvements to their lunchtime service.

Previously, lunches at the nursery had already been plated up for the children, meaning the children couldn’t have a choice in what they were eating.

The nursery also replaced their plastic plates and cutlery with new china plates and metal cutlery.

The handling of these items allowed the children to learn about the value of respect and responsibilities.

As children become more proficient at handling the crockery and cutlery, the nursery staff encouraged them to become increasingly independent by offering them roles in helping set up the lunchtime service.

Two other Gwent schools were classed as excellent, Glan Usk Primary School and Gaer Primary School, both in Newport.