SCHOOL inspectors have praised a Gwent comprehensive for its leadership and caring ethos.

A team from Welsh inspection agency Estyn visited Risca Community Comprehensive School in September, and have this week published their report.

They found the school's headteacher and senior leaders "provide supportive and compassionate leadership" for their colleagues.

This has "helped to develop a strong sense of teamwork amongst staff" at the school, as well as making pupils "feel valued, supported and respected".

Headteacher John Kendall stepped down from his role in October following 14 years at the helm.

Teachers "foster positive working relationships" with pupils and generally "manage pupils’ behaviour well and ensure they engage positively with activities".

"In a few lessons where teaching is particularly effective, teachers have high expectations in terms of pupils’ behaviour and achievement," the inspectors said. "They plan purposeful activities which challenge and motivate pupils to make good progress in their learning."

But Estyn noted that in "a minority of lessons, teachers do not manage pupils’ behaviour well enough", which has "a negative impact on the progress pupils make in these lessons".

Generally, pupils at Risca Comprehensive "behave well in school and... are enthusiastic to learn".

"Many pupils have positive attitudes to school life and feel safe," the inspectors said, adding: "Many pupils feel safe and secure in school and that they are well cared for by staff. They are confident that any pastoral issues are followed up promptly in a sensitive and positive way. These pupils feel valued, treated fairly and are encouraged to show respect."

Leaders "remained committed to supporting the well-being of pupils and staff throughout the pandemic and have a desire to secure improvements".

Estyn did say, however, that "evaluation and improvement processes are not precise enough".

"They have not had enough impact to drive the improvements needed in teaching, learning, provision for pupils’ skills and attendance," the inspectors added. "Leaders do not have a clear enough strategic vision for improvement that is understood by all staff."

But Estyn did praise the school's "wide range of strategies... to support the well-being of all pupils, including those that have additional learning needs and those who require emotional support".

The inspectors said: "Pupils who attend the Autistic Spectrum Condition centre make good progress in relation to their abilities and recognised needs.

"It is a supportive environment where pupils with profound needs develop a wide range of skills and an extremely positive attitude towards learning."