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Welsh Govt: 'We are making progress' in education

The Welsh Government has insisted "we are making progress" on improving school standards.

The annual report from education watchdog Estyn, published today, warns that "standards of education in Wales have not improved in the main."

The Welsh Government admits "building an excellent education system will take time."

We welcome the Chief Inspector’s comprehensive report and thank Estyn for their work.

We’ve been honest and up-front about the challenges facing our education system and it’s clear from this report that we must continue to work together to improve key areas such as teaching, assessment and literacy and numeracy.

Building an excellent education system, which is the ambition of everyone in the sector, will take time but we are not complacent and we are making progress.

We know there is a lot of good practice across Wales and, as last year’s GCSE results showed, we are closing the gap with England when it comes to performance.

We are determined to put the right policies and initiatives in place to create an education system that truly delivers for our young people.

We will now consider the report and will respond formally in the plenary in March.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

Estyn: 'Very concerned' about secondary schools

Estyn's Chief Inspector has said the watchdog is "very concerned" about the standards in Wales' secondary schools.

Ann Keane admitted: "I had hoped to see better signs of improvement across the board."

23 per cent of the secondary schools inspected in the last year were judged as 'unsatisfactory', up from 14 per cent the previous year.

She told our reporter Tom Sheldrick that the common problems in those schools were weaknesses in leadership, policies on marking and absenteeism not being applied consistently, and not enough being done to help particular groups, such as children from deprived backgrounds.

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23 per cent of secondary schools 'unsatisfactory'

Nearly a quarter of secondary schools inspected by Wales' education watchdog in the last year were judged 'unsatisfactory.'

The proportion ranked in the lowest category by Estyn is now 23 per cent, a jump from 14 per cent the previous year.

Estyn's has published its annual report today, and warns "standards of education in Wales have not improved in the main. The pace of improvement needs to accelerate and leaders in schools need to keep pace with the best, both inside and outside Wales."

Estyn has said it is disappointed that there have not been improvements in school performance. Credit: PA

Last December, Wales fell further behind in the so-called 'PISA' worldwide assessment of pupils' maths, reading and science skills.

Estyn has highlighted problems with the quality of teaching, assessment, literacy and numeracy, and leadership within schools.

It said special and independent schools continue to perform well, while the majority of primary schools are good or better.

However, the watchdog will be returning to 70 per cent of secondary schools next year for follow-up inspections, due to worrying standards in particularly areas, or across the whole school.

More needs to be done to help poorer children

Headteachers in Wales have been told they're not doing enough to deal with the impact poverty has in the classroom. It remains one of the main factors in poor education performance.

Now, the schools inspectorate says more needs to be done to help children from poorer backgrounds. Tom Sheldrick reports now on the struggle to close that gap.

'Common approach' needed for schools and councils

Estyn recommends that schools and local councils develop a common approach and work with other agencies to engage disadvantaged families more in school life.Among the report's other recommendations for schools are:

  • adopting clear systems for working with outside agencies to support disadvantaged learners
  • identifying a senior member of staff to co-ordinate work with external services and agencies
  • making sure staff know how to raise the achievement of disadvantaged learners.

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Schools need to do more to tackle poverty, says Estyn

Tackling poverty is not a high enough priority for schools, according to inspectors Credit: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

Schools in Wales need to do more to tackle poverty, according to a report from school inspectors Estyn.

The report says that although many schools are aware of the importance of improving stands and wellbeing of disadvantaged pupils, addressing poverty is still not a high enough priority for schools across Wales.

Early years 'vital' for Welsh language skills

The Foundation Phase is a vital part of developing young children's skills in speaking, reading and writing in Welsh.

We have found that the rate at which children acquire Welsh language skills is affected by whether or not children are learning alongside others who share similar backgrounds in home language.

Our report shows that in classes with mixed linguistic backgrounds, children from non-Welsh speaking homes sometimes progress too slowly and the progress of pupils from Welsh-speaking homes can be hindered.

– Ann Keane, Chief Inspector at Estyn - Education watchdog

New report highlights progress made in Welsh lessons

Progress has been made in children learning Welsh, says report Credit: PA

More than 80 per cent of children aged 3 to 7 are making good progress in learning Welsh as a first language in Welsh-medium schools.

A report out today by education watchdog Estyn also reports standards in pupils' language, literacy and communication skills are similar to those in English-medium schools, and are in line with the expected level at that age.

The new report, Welsh in the Foundation Phase, considers standards in developing language in Welsh-medium schools taking into account whether pupils come from a Welsh-speaking home or not.

It also considers the balance between formal language development and informal activities which is a core part of the Foundation Phase approach to teaching and learning.

Calls for 'urgent action' to improve maths standards

Education watchdogs have called for urgent action to improve the standards of maths being taught in schools across Wales. It follows a report showing that pupils here are falling well behind standards being set in England.

The report by Estyn calls for better teaching, assessments and staff training to catch up with standards in other parts of Britain. It highlight's much good practice but concludes there is "too little support for the professional development of teachers of mathematics." Alexandra Lodge reports.

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