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CONSULTATION ON PROPOSALS FOR NEW EDUCATION AND TRAINING INSPECTION ARRANGEMENTS

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Education and lifelong learning minister Jane Davidson today welcomed the release of Estyn's consultation on the de...
Education and lifelong learning minister Jane Davidson today welcomed the release of Estyn's consultation on the development of new arrangements for the inspection of education and training in Wales from 2004 (see below).

Mrs Davidson said:

'The proposals mark out a distinctive approach to the future inspection of education and training in Wales and will move the process of inspection forward whilst ensuring that it remains rigorous, supportive and effective in helping to drive up standards.

'Estyn aims to raise standards and quality in education and training through inspection and advice in support of the vision and strategic direction set out by the national assembly in 'A Plan for Wales' and the paving document 'The Learning Country'.

'Estyn makes a major contribution to the development of educational policy in Wales through the evidence-based advice it provides to the national assembly and it is vital that we have in place up-to-date inspection arrangements that will help Estyn fully embrace the new opportunities arising from its extended remit to secure a unique overview of standards of education and training in Wales.

'I am confident that the proposals will attract widespread support as they maintain and build on the best features of current inspection practice within Wales and include:

* strong emphasis on serving the needs and interests of learners

* complementary roles for self-evaluation and inspection

* the more active participation of providers in the process of inspection

* streamlined inspections

'In framing the proposals Estyn has taken account of post-inspection feedback from those inspected, and listened to the views of a wide range of organisations and education and training providers who have taken part in detailed discussions about the principles and process of inspection.

'The new arrangements represent a substantial development to existing inspection practice and seek to reduce further the bureaucratic burden of inspections and the need to secure consistent treatment of education and training providers.

A NEW FUTURE FOR INSPECTION IN WALES

Chief inspector for education and training in Wales, Susan Lewis outlined proposals for a new approach to inspection in Wales.

All those with an interest in education and training in Wales will be invited to respond to the new proposals by taking part in the biggest consultation exercise that Estyn, the Education and Training Inspectorate in Wales, has ever undertaken.

Introducing the proposals, Susan Lewis said:

'These proposals for new inspection arrangements are designed to draw together best practice in a common framework for inspection. Inspection has an important part to play in helping to achieve the national assembly for Wales' aspirations for all learners.

'Our new proposals follow more than a year of extensive discussion and informal consultation with a wide range of education and training providers and interest groups in Wales. Taken together, the changes proposed represent the most substantial development in inspection in recent years.

'We have a unique overview of standards of education and training across Wales. Because of our new plans we will be able to ensure that all providers are inspected according to a common framework and that all learners have the opportunities to achieve their potential.'

The proposals

Estyn's aim is to raise standards and quality in education and training in Wales through inspection and advice, in support of the vision and strategic direction set by the National Assembly for Wales.

The new plan applies to schools, colleges, training and adult education providers, Careers Wales companies and youth support services. It is designed to reduce bureaucracy and to streamline the inspection system. The plan brings together the best of inspection practice into a common inspection approach. If agreed, it will be phased in during the next three years.

Estyn is proposing that inspectors place even more emphasis than they have in the past on listening to the views of children, students, trainees and adult learners. Inspection reports will comment on whether the education and training that learners receive really does meet their needs and interests and whether all learners, whatever their abilities and backgrounds, have the support and opportunities they need to achieve their full potential.

Schools, colleges and training providers are being asked how often inspections should take place and whether or not they should always take the same form. Those organisations which are performing well could have a different type of inspection from those where standards are a cause for concern. The consultation will also seek views on how much notice of inspection there should ideally be.

The draft framework proposes that inspectors will use the organisation's own view of its strengths and weaknesses as their starting point and involve those who are being inspected more in the inspection process itself. A member of staff from the organisation inspected will be invited to work with the inspection team itself and to attend its meetings to contribute information and to hear emerging findings. Each inspection team will also be joined by a practising teacher or trainer from elsewhere, who has been trained in inspection, in order to bring a complementary view to the process.

The consultation will last until the end of December. Estyn will then consider the responses it receives and develop the proposals in the light of these.

Notes

A copy of the consultation document and the proposed new framework for inspection are available from Julie Griffiths at Estyn.

Estyn

Anchor Court

Keen Road,

Cardiff

CF24 5JW

Tel: 02920 446 446

Email: questionnaire@estyn.gsi.gov.uk

Estyn

Estyn's aim is to raise standards and quality in education and training in Wales through inspection and advice, in support of the vision and strategic direction set by the National Assembly for Wales.

Objectives

Our objectives are:

1. to deliver high quality inspection of individual education and training providers, and related services in Wales; and

2. to provide independent and sound advice, based on inspection evidence, to inform the National Assembly for Wales in the formulation and evaluation of education and training policy.

In achieving the above we intend to:

* provide an efficient and effective service that is recognised by all for its fairness, integrity and objectivity

* strive for excellence and improvement for all learners in Wales

* promote good practice

* be pro-active in reviewing and developing inspection arrangements and ways of working

* be open, outward-looking and work closely with all our partners

* treat both Welsh and English on a basis of equality in accordance with our Welsh language scheme

* seek continuous improvement in our communication

* enable our staff to flourish and give of their best through organisational and individual learning and development

What do we inspect?

We are responsible for inspecting provision in the following areas of work in Wales:

* nursery schools and non-maintained nurseries

* primary schools

* secondary schools

* special schools, including independent special schools

* pupil referral units

* independent schools

* further education

* adult education provided by local authorities and voluntary organisations

* youth support services

* LEAs

* teacher education and training

* assembly-funded training

* Careers Wales companies

* the education, guidance and training elements of New Deal

What is the legal basis for these inspections?

We carry out inspections in order to meet the legal duties assigned to the chief inspector in various Acts. The main Acts are:

* School Inspections Act 1996

* Education Act 1997

* Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998

* School Standards and Framework Act 1998

* Learning and Skills Act 2000

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