1. ITV Report

Concerns about 'variability' in the quality of education in Wales

The Chief Inspector of Education in Wales says there's a big difference between the best and struggling schools Photo: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

The Chief Inspector of Education in Wales, Meilyr Rowlands, says there is a 'big difference' between the best schools and those that are struggling.

His comments come as Estyn publishes its Annual Report, which found progress in:

  • Behaviour
  • Attendance
  • Basic numeracy and literacy

But there are concerns about the gap between the best schools and those that are struggling, with Estyn stating there's 'too much variability in the quality of teaching and learning in Wales’ schools'.

There is a big difference between the best schools and those that are struggling. To close the gap with the best, schools need to continue to focus on the basics and also take a fresh look at teaching and learning experiences – what is taught, and how it is taught and assessed. Teachers and leaders need to be imaginative in the classroom and embrace the challenge to share and learn from the best.

– Chief Inspector Meilyr Rowlands
Schools need to take a 'fresh look' at teaching Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Mr Rowlands told ITV News that leadership can make all the difference, with the schools that have good teaching and learning, also having good leadership.

One of the schools credited with good leadership is Rogerstone Primary School in Newport, who have seen significant improvement over the last few years.

Rogerstone Primary School in Newport have seen significant improvement Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Headteacher Steve Rayer says they have a 'whole team' approach, with everyone clear on their roles and responsibilities and the future aims.

Headteacher Steve Rayer Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

With happy staff you're going to get happy children, and you're going to get better results.

– Steve Rayer, Headteacher, Rogerstone Primary School

The Welsh Government say they welcome Estyn's report, and Education Minister, Huw Lewis, will respond formally next month:

Improving standards of teaching and leadership in our schools and training providers remains a key Welsh Government priority. It is right at the heart of both our New Deal for the Education workforce and our leadership strategy which we are in the process of refreshing, and it is more important than ever as we work to develop a new curriculum for Wales.

We remain committed to ensuring the delivery of quality of provision for all our learners, wherever in Wales they are, and we are working closely with the profession to make this a reality.

– A Welsh Government spokesperson