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The specific advice required by the Welsh Government in 2021 to 2022

1a) Ongoing advice, detailed reports and, where appropriate, other resources drawing on evidence from engagement calls and visits

During 2021 to 2022 Estyn will redirect some of the resource normally used for the full set of thematic reports and concentrate on supporting the Welsh Government’s learning recovery plan from the Covid-19 pandemic for the education and training sectors. This will result in termly reports based on evidence gathered from engagement calls and visits, including cameos of interesting practice.

Estyn will also be partially suspending inspections for independent and independent special schools, local government education services and post-16 providers and partnerships (specifically further education colleges, and specialist colleges, work-based learning providers, and adult learning in the community partnerships), and initial teacher education partnerships during the summer term 2021. The intention of the partial suspension of the inspections in these sectors is to enable inspectors to support providers’ recovery from the current situation through engagement calls and visits.

In particular we expect that we will require Estyn to provide advice across the sectors within its remit in relation to:

  • engagement of learners, including effective strategies to support different age groups
  • remote learning and arrangements to support learners as they return to full-time provision
  • support for learners, parents and professionals, in particular in relation to wellbeing
  • equity of access to learning and support
  • implementation of the requirements outlined in the ALNET Act
  • support for transition into primary, secondary and post-16 education and training
  • learning in local authority commissioned EOTAS provision (for example independent special schools, colleges, training providers, home tuition) 
  • delivering a broad and balanced curriculum, supported by appropriate assessment, that meets the needs of all learners
  • leadership and improvement planning
  • the system of awarding current qualifications and the development of qualification for the Curriculum for Wales

In addition to termly updates, this advice may also be given through contributions to working groups, written advice, published guidance or reports.

Drawing on timescales within the Learning Recovery Plan, Estyn will decide in consultation with stakeholders, to focus engagement visits on preparation for the implementation of Curriculum for Wales including:

  • professional learning and evidence informed practice (including how schools have used the additional Welsh Government funding to support this work)
  • how schools are using the national resource for evaluation and improvement and where they are on their improvement journey

1b) Detailed reports and, where appropriate, other resources drawing on evidence from thematic inspections

The thematic reviews to be included in the remit to Estyn for 2021 to 2022 are listed in the table below.

The list includes 8 items: one large review that will provide webinars to share key messages and cameos or case studies of interesting practice; and 7 standard reviews.

The items included reflect a strategic remit that links to my stated priorities for education and training, and with emphasis on the current reforms for the implementation of the Curriculum for Wales, ALNET Act and PCET reform.

  Title Purpose Duration
1. Regional consortia and local authority support for Curriculum for Wales

This report will evaluate the professional learning offer provided by regional consortia to schools. There will be a particular focus on curriculum, and what impact it has had on improving teaching and learning. There will also be a focus on how local authorities and regional consortia are supporting schools to address diversity through the curriculum.

Webinars following the publication of the report to share key messages and cameos or case studies of emerging interesting practices.

Large review
2. The changing approach to assessment This review will focus on improving approaches to classroom assessment that support learning. It would unpick the myths around classroom-based, formative assessment and consider how schools have improved their classroom practice. It would evaluate successful approaches used in developing assessment practices to strengthen teaching and learning. It would consider how teachers use classroom assessment to identify pupils’ strengths, areas for improvement and barriers to learning. It would examine how effectively teachers share this information with pupils to help them understand how and where they can improve.

Standard review


Welsh Language immersion approaches

This review will gather evidence on effective language immersion methodology, incorporating foundation phase approaches in Welsh-medium settings and schools, and approaches for latecomers to Welsh-medium education.

Standard review

4. Impartial advice and guidance for young people This is the first of a series of thematic inspection reviews of the work of Careers Wales. It would consider how effectively impartial advice and guidance and Careers Wales’ whole offer enables young people in secondary schools, special schools and PRUs to plan their careers.

Standard review


Rapid response reviews of Post-16

  1. Professional Learning: qualifications for post-16 practitioners in further education, work-based learning and adult learning in the community
  2. Use of the Post-16 Recruit Recover and Raise Standards/catch-up funding in FE colleges and school sixth forms

These two reviews provide a rapid response to requests for information.

  1. This report will provide a baseline detailing the professional qualifications for Post-16 teachers, assessors or tutors to support the Post-16 workforce development steering group’s action plan.
  2. This review will consider how the post-16 Recruit Recover and Raise Standards/catch-up funding has been spent and recommendations or guidance for future grant funding.

Standard review

6. 16 to 18 curriculum

This review will focus on the current curriculum for 16 to 18 year olds, the curriculum offer and present evidence to contribute to a wider review or discussion of how learners will progress from compulsory schooling to post-16 in light of proposals for qualifications with the Curriculum for Wales. It will also consider how effectively impartial information, advice and guidance enables young people in post-16 education and training to improve their career planning.

Standard review

7. Implementation of the ALNET Act in schools

This review will consider the arrangements and implementation of the requirements outlined in the ALNET Act in primary and secondary schools, PRUs and local authorities.

It would be conducted through engagement calls in 2021-2022 to share intelligence with Welsh Government to inform a report published in 2022-2023

Standard review

8. Peer-on-peer sexual harassment in education settings The report’s main aim is to review the culture and processes in schools that help protect and support young people better. The review will also consider the incidence of peer-on-peer sexual harassment and how the schools’ safeguarding culture encourages and empowers pupils to stand up to their peers and report all forms of sexual harassment. Standard review


1c) Continuation of the work on the national evaluation and improvement resource

Estyn will continue to work with Welsh Government on the national evaluation and improvement resource.

1d) Continue to work with Welsh Government, local authorities and regional consortia to support schools causing concern

Estyn will continue to work with partners to roll out new approaches to supporting schools causing concern.

1e) Continue to work with Welsh Government and stakeholders to support PCET reform

Estyn will continue to work with Welsh Government and stakeholders to support PCET reform and preparations following legislation in creating the Commission for Tertiary Education and Research.

1f) Provide advice on local authority Welsh in Education Strategic Plans

Estyn will provide each local authority with an evaluation of their Welsh in Education Strategic Plan.

1g) Policy areas on which the Education Directorate may require advice or support through contributions to working groups

Estyn provides advice and support for decision making in a range of areas. Estyn may be asked to provide support to various working groups through representation, presentation of written evidence or discussions with senior Education Directorate officials.

For 2021 to 2022 it is anticipated that Estyn will contribute to the following working groups but this will be reviewed going forward:

  • All Wales Forum of Gypsy Traveller Education Practitioners
  • Creative Learning Steering Group
  • Consistent Performance Measures Steering Group and technical group
  • Curriculum for Wales Communications Group
  • Curriculum for Wales DCF Steering Group
  • Curriculum for Wales Operational Delivery Board
  • Curriculum for Wales Manageability Group
  • Curriculum for Wales Assessment Group
  • Curriculum for Wales Review Implementation: Change Board
  • Curriculum for Wales Non-maintained Sector Curriculum and Assessment Group
  • Curriculum for Wales EOTAS guidance development group
  • Curriculum for Wales British Sign Language guidance development group
  • DCF Steering Group
  • DCF Working group
  • Digital Operations Group
  • Digital Standards Working Group
  • Digital Standards Group
  • Education Other Than at School (EOTAS) Ministerial Advisory Group
  • Education Reform Strategic Stakeholder Group
  • Global Futures Steering Group
  • Healthy Relationships Expert Panel
  • Teacher Recruitment and Retention Advisory Board
  • Early Career Stakeholder Group
  • Joint Ministerial Task and Finish Group on a Whole-School Approach to Mental Health and Wellbeing
  •  Keep in Touch Meeting (Youth Justice Board, Welsh Government and Inspectorates)
  • Lead and Emerging Practitioner Schools Project Board
  • Liberty Protection Safeguards working groups
  • Minority Ethnic Achievement Local Authorities Forum
  • National Digital Learning Council
  • National Strategic Group for Children who are looked after
  • Offender Learning Employability and Skills Group
  • Workforce Development Strategy Participation Group
  • Post Compulsory Education and Training (PCET) Reform.
  • Post-16 COVID-19 Resilience Plan Steering Group
  • Post-16 Digital 2030 Steering Group and blended learning working group
  • Professional Workforce Development Steering Group and sub-groups
  • Safeguarding in Education Steering Group
  • The Assessment Advisory Group
  • Personalised Assessment Project Board
  • The Learning Portfolio Working Group
  • The Childcare Offer for Wales: Stakeholder Reference Group
  • Vocational Qualifications Forum
  • Vulnerable Children Young People & Safeguarding Group
  • Wales Strategic Forum for Careers Development
  • Welsh Government’s Improvement and Support Conference

1h) Other areas on which Welsh Government may require advice and support regarding education and training in Wales

Estyn also provides ongoing support in the following areas:

  • school closure and reorganisation proposals
  • annual monitoring of independent schools which have been approved under section 347(1) of the Education Act 1996, to admit pupils with statements of special educational needs (SEN) generally and has pupils with SEN on roll; or an independent school that has registered to admit pupils with SEN under section 158 of the Education Act 2002 and has SEN pupils on roll
  • inspection and annual monitoring of all independent specialist colleges in Wales and provision of an inspector as part of a team on the inspections or annual monitoring visits of independent specialist colleges in England where 10 or more learners from Wales are funded to attend
  • registration of independent schools, including material change requests
  • Pupil Development Grant
  • education improvement grant for schools
  • development of qualifications and inspection arrangements for any proposed new initial teacher education and continuing professional development requirements for teachers, tutors and trainers in the lifelong learning sector
  • schools causing concern
  • follow up work in respect of Local Education Authorities and regional consortia/arrangements
  • honours nominations
  • background information for Ministerial visits to schools
  • Senedd questions.