Posted: Wed 10th Apr 2024

Alun School in Mold shines in latest Estyn report

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

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A Flintshire high school has been highlighted for its exceptional commitment to pupil well-being, teaching quality, and strong leadership following its latest inspection by Estyn, His Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales.

In a glowing report, following a visit in March, inspectors found much to praise at Alun School in Mold.

They noted the considerate, polite, and courteous nature of the pupils, who are not only excelling academically but also actively participating in a variety of leadership roles that contribute positively to the school environment.

The inspectors were particularly pleased to see that “Pupils from all backgrounds, including young carers and those eligible for free school meals, are keen to take on leadership responsibilities within the school.”

Estyn reserved significant praise for the headteacher, Jane Cooper, and other senior leaders in the school.

Estyn commented that the headteacher “provides assured leadership and ensures strong accountability at all levels. Her vision is clear and is shared and understood”. The report goes on to comment that “senior leaders demonstrate their support to the headteacher in their work.”, “leaders have a sound understanding of the strengths and areas for improvement of the provision in their areas of responsibility.” and that the Alun “is a caring and inclusive community where leaders prioritise pupils’ emotional well-being and promote a culture of safeguarding.”

The quality of teaching at the Alun was another noted strength, with inspectors commenting that “teachers use their subject knowledge to good effect and give clear and precise explanations.”

The inspectors went on to mention that teachers at the Alun “have high expectations of what pupils can achieve, ask useful questions to check for understanding and give beneficial verbal feedback on their work.

This enables many pupils to make at least suitable progress and practice their literacy, numeracy and Welsh language skills appropriately.”

Inspectors who met sixth form students were impressed with their experiences and their work, they remarked that “pupils talk positively about their learning experiences and say they are supported well in making suitable course choices. They value the individual feedback and clear assistance on how to improve their work. In lessons, sixth form pupils engage with tasks productively.”

“They show resilience when working independently and persevere when faced with challenging problems. Sixth form students engage well with and value the pastoral support they receive during learning coach sessions. Sixth form students are keen and responsible learners making sound progress in their subject knowledge and understanding.”

The range of extra-curricular opportunities available at the Alun, was commented on very positively by inspectors, the report refers to many pupils attending and benefiting “from a broad range of clubs which include a Jazz band, creative writing, international languages and a ‘Young Coders’ club. Many pupils participate in an inclusive and extensive extra-curricular sporting programme.”

Inspectors recognised the hard work the school has put into improving attendance by noting that last year attendance “was above that of similar schools”, “attendance of pupils eligible for free school meals was above the national average” and “rates of persistent absence were well below the national average”

During the inspection, inspectors conducted surveys of pupils and spent time meeting with pupils to get their view of the school. They concluded that “pupils at Alun School feel safe, free from bullying, respected and treated fairly by staff. Many pupils feel that their well-being is supported positively by the school and feel that their views are listened to and appreciated through a wide range of methods such as pupil surveys, interviews, reviews, and a highly effective school council.”

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