The specific advice required by the Welsh Government in 2023 to 2024
1a) 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 2023 to 2024 are listed in the table below.
The items included reflect a strategic remit that has a focus on the current reforms for the implementation of the Curriculum for Wales, ALNET Act and PCET reform, and includes an item focusing on Welsh language development and a focus on supporting vulnerable learners.
Curriculum for Wales: Transition
This review would consider how transition fits with the shared understanding of progression, wellbeing of learners and curriculum design, and is supported by cluster working. This could also usefully include transition from 3 to 16 including into Foundation Learning.
Curriculum for Wales: Developing reading skills in Welsh
This review would focus on reading skills in Welsh for 11 to 14 year olds and transition between Year 6 and Year 7, in Welsh‑medium and bilingual schools. It follows on from the developing reading skills in English review in 2022 to 2023.
|Year 2 (small review)|
ALN Reform: Implementation of the ALNET Act in schools; year 2
|The review would follow on from the year 1 review of the implementation of the ALNET Act in schools, due to be published in 2023.||Year 2 of standard review|
Impact of poverty on educational attainment support, provision and transition for early education
|This review will focus on the effectiveness of the support and provision for early education. The review will also consider the transition from home to setting and setting to school.||Standard review|
Post-compulsory education and training: Assess the depth, breadth and effectiveness of the NEET lead worker role across Wales
|This review supports the Welsh Government policy around the Young Person’s Guarantee, looking at the refreshed Youth Engagement and Progression Framework and the effectiveness of lead worker support for NEET young people.||Standard review|
|6||Junior Apprenticeships review||This thematic review will consider the impact of the Junior Apprenticeship Programme on learner outcomes. It will aim to highlight good practice and identify barriers to the effective delivery of the programme by FEIs.||Standard review|
1b) Ongoing advice based on evidence from inspection, engagement work and other activity
Estyn provides advice and support for decision making in a range of areas. During 2023 to 2024 Estyn will continue to gather information from inspection activity and engagement work to support the Welsh Government’s priorities for the education and training sectors. This will result in ongoing advice through meetings with Welsh Government officials and inform Estyn’s contributions to national working groups, the National Network Conversations, written advice, published guidance or reports.
Estyn will also provide advice specifically on, effective and appropriate deployment of learning support staff, who assist teaching, as well as access to training and professional development and wider support for their wellbeing; schools where lunch breaks have been cut to an extent that limits learners’ opportunities to eat a healthy meal, and have time to socialise, play and have a wellbeing break; and attendance which remains a concern. Understanding the factors that may be behind a learner missing school, such as ALN or socio-economic status, is key to sustained improvement in attendance. Estyn’s advice on this issue will be an important part of our evidence base.
The Welsh Government continues to recognise the importance of wellbeing in schools as a contributory factor to ensuring children and young people are able to engage with their education and reach their full potential. As part of our implementation of statutory wellbeing guidance issued in 2021 we continue to keep this area under review and the role of Estyn in supporting the evidence gathering process is central to this work.
Estyn will also continue to provide updates on curriculum roll out in primary and secondary schools.
Estyn may be asked to provide support to various working groups through representation, presentation of written evidence or discussions with senior Education and SHELL Directorate officials. This would also include advice and support for those aspects of post-compulsory education and training within the Commission for Tertiary Education and Research’s remit.
1c) Continue to work with Welsh Government, local authorities and regional consortia to support secondary schools causing concern through the multi-agency approach
Estyn will continue to work with partners to roll out approaches to supporting secondary schools and PRUs causing concern and special schools causing concern who work with secondary aged learners.
1d) Continue to work jointly with other inspectorates on the programme of Joint Inspections of Child Protection Arrangements
Estyn will continue to work jointly with Care Inspectorate Wales, Health Inspectorate Wales, and HM Probation to inspect child protection arrangements in local health board regions in Wales.
1e) Estyn’s development work for inspection from September 2024
In line with the recommendations in A Learning Inspectorate and the Welsh Government's school improvement guidance, Estyn are planning to deliver more regular inspections of schools from September 2024. During 2023 to 2024, Estyn will undertake development work in readiness for this and the introduction of a new inspection framework.
During 2023 to 2024 Estyn will also be consulting on changes to the inspection framework and arrangements for other sectors of education and training from September 2024.
1f) 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
- regular monitoring of independent schools registered to provide additional learning provision for learners with statements of SEN or individual development plans
- 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
- development of qualifications and inspection arrangements for any proposed new initial teacher training 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 arrangements for school improvement services
- work with the Welsh Government Central Honours team to contribute any relevant intelligence as part of their process for validating honours citations for professionals within education and training providers
- background information for Ministerial meetings and visits to schools and other providers
- Senedd questions
- implementation of the TER(W) Act and the establishment of the Commission for Tertiary Education and Research, including relevant secondary legislation and matters related to future Estyn remits and its relationship to the new Commission and Welsh Government