We Have All the Tools to Provide a Better Education System. What We Need Now Is a Determination to Deliver; September Is Welsh Education Month in the Western Mail. We're Asking Leading Members of the Schools, Higher Education, Political and Academic Scene to Debate the Following: Education in Wales Must Do Better. Discuss. Today It's the Turn of Ann Keane, Head of Estyn

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), September 14, 2011 | Go to article overview

We Have All the Tools to Provide a Better Education System. What We Need Now Is a Determination to Deliver; September Is Welsh Education Month in the Western Mail. We're Asking Leading Members of the Schools, Higher Education, Political and Academic Scene to Debate the Following: Education in Wales Must Do Better. Discuss. Today It's the Turn of Ann Keane, Head of Estyn


OVER past months, many newspaper column inches have been devoted to questions about the state of education in Wales. Opinions have been divided on the extent and nature of declining standards.

scene Questions have been asked about why Welsh children are lagging behind children in other parts of the UK and much of the rest of the world.

Earlier this year, I published my annual report as Chief Inspector of Estyn, do the education and training inspectorate for Wales. In it I looked at the progress that had been made over the past six years - the length of an inspection cycle - during which time all the schools and other providers of education and training in Wales were inspected.

of My report said that overall, standards of education and training in Wales had stayed the same or, in some areas, they had improved but that the pace of improvement in schools had been too slow, with one in three schools falling short of the standards expected. Too many aspects of education provision in Wales were not good enough and too many children and young people were not achieving excellence.

Apart from inspection, three other external indicators also suggest either a relative decline in standards or standards that are not good enough.

First, the results of the most recent international Pisa (Programme for International Student Assessment) tests confirm that, since the last test in 2006, Welsh pupils are now below the average of other countries in reading and mathematics.

Second, the gap between GCSE results in Wales and England is getting wider. Even though both sets of results are improving annually, the results in England are improving at a faster rate.

Third, too many pupils entering secondary schools in Wales have reading ages that are significantly lower than their actual ages.

One of our duties as an inspectorate is to give all schools a standard "core" inspection in order to hold them to public account and report to parents, pupils, teachers, governors and the local authority as well as to the Welsh Government on how they are doing.

Since September 2010, Estyn has inspected 244 schools in Wales. These inspections have been based on the core inspection model that focuses primarily on outcomes for children and young people (adults too when we are inspecting community education or work-based learning).

Whichever sector we are inspecting, we look at outcomes and standards, we look at what sort of provision and support are offered and how good a job the leaders and managers are doing.

After the first core inspection we take another, closer look at those schools we feel could be doing better.

About 45% of the schools we have inspected since September have been identified as needing follow-up inspection and 5% of those are schools causing concern that need heavier monitoring because they are either in "special measures" or "in need of significant improvement". Many of the other schools in that 45% will be doing some or many things well but they will also have some aspect or aspects that are unsatisfactory or only adequate. When we re-visit those schools it will be to focus on what they are not getting right.

The 45% is an increase from the "over 30%" we identified as not being good enough in the last cycle. I believe this represents a more realistic picture of standards in Welsh schools. What it means is that there are several challenges that need to be tackled if standards are to improve.

What needs to change? First, there needs to be a stronger focus on literacy and numeracy in the classroom. Literacy is based on developing oracy, reading and writing. Higher-level literacy and numeracy skills involve skills of evaluation and interpretation, the ability to analyse facts and figures, to think critically and to communicate clearly. These are the "essential skills", which Pisa tests.

Too many young people in Wales have low reading ages and poor writing skills and don't have appropriate levels of numeracy skills at the age of 11. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

We Have All the Tools to Provide a Better Education System. What We Need Now Is a Determination to Deliver; September Is Welsh Education Month in the Western Mail. We're Asking Leading Members of the Schools, Higher Education, Political and Academic Scene to Debate the Following: Education in Wales Must Do Better. Discuss. Today It's the Turn of Ann Keane, Head of Estyn
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.