Currently, schools and providers are inspected every six years. Although schools and providers only receive 20 working days’ notice of an inspection, they can often predict when the next inspection will take place.
The consultation also proposes to reduce the amount of time a school or provider has to prepare an action plan after inspection (currently, it can take up to 80 working days).
Ann Keane, Chief Inspector of Estyn said “Independent inspection is a vital component of driving improvement in education and training.
“We can already see the positive impact of our inspection process in the improved provision of those schools that received additional support through follow-up inspections.
“When we changed the inspection process in September 2010, we wanted to work in partnership with schools and providers by strengthening self-evaluation, developing their skills and knowledge through peer inspection, use of nominees and championing sector-leading practice.
“This is an important consultation which has the potential to change the way we inspect, minimise stress on teachers and reduce the temptation for schools to over-prepare for inspection as there would be less predictability as to when an inspection will take place.
“I want to encourage all parents, learners and education and training providers to take part in the consultation.
Education Minister Leighton Andrews said:
“I want to see improvements in standards and performance in education in Wales. For that reason, it is imperative that the already robust Estyn inspection process is as rigorous as it can possibly be.
“In order for our schools and providers to succeed and deliver for our learners, they need to be of the highest standard and assessed properly and fairly. This new consultation seeks views on how we and Estyn can make that happen.”
The consultation is available to download from the Welsh Government website and it includes bespoke questionnaires for learners and for parents and education professionals.
Estyn is committed to seeking the views of stakeholders before making changes to the inspection process. Once the consultation has finished Estyn will evaluate the feedback to determine what changes, if any, should be made to inspections. If changes to inspection are required following the consultation, the Welsh Government may need to revise current regulations and legislation. Estyn and the Welsh Government are conducting this consultation jointly in order to avoid duplication.