Posted: Thu 29th Jun 2023

Estyn: Elfed High School praised for its support of pupils’ wellbeing

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jun 29th, 2023


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A Flintshire high school has been praised for its support of pupils’ wellbeing, although the attendance of students eligible for free school meals is a concern.

The Welsh Government’s education inspectorate Estyn visited the Elfed High School in Buckley at the end of April.

In their report, inspectors say the school achieves an effective balance between academic attainment and supporting the well-being of its pupils and staff.

But the school, which has 912 pupils, has been given some recommendations to enable it to improve in some areas going forward.

The report states: “The school’s core values of ‘honesty, integrity, respect, high aspirations and self-belief’ are at the heart of what it does.

“Many pupils have a strong sense of belonging, which is reflected in their good behaviour, courtesy and the pride they exhibit in the school. Many have a positive attitude to learning and engage well in lessons, demonstrating maturity when discussing sensitive issues.

“They participate enthusiastically in the wide range of extra-curricular activities available to them. The support for pupils’ well-being is a particular strength of the school. Although, overall, attendance is improving, the attendance of pupils eligible for free school meals remains a concern.”

One concern the inspectorate did flag was that teachers provide “too much support” to pupils, which in the inspectors’ opinion limits their opportunities to apply and develop their learning and skills independently.

The report reads: “This is often because teachers provide too much support for them, overly scaffold tasks or present for too long.

“These teachers do not have high enough expectations of what pupils can do and often provide them with shortcuts to complete tasks rather than helping them to develop their understanding of important concepts.”

Inspectors would also like to see more planning for the progressive development of reading, numeracy and digital skills across the age ranges.

However, teaching at the school was also praised with the report adding: “The majority of teachers circulate the classroom well and provide clear and helpful verbal feedback to pupils about how they can improve their work.

“They also provide helpful written feedback that identifies clearly what pupils have done well and how they could improve.”
Leadership at the school was also rated highly by the inspectors.

The report states: “The headteacher provides thoughtful and passionate leadership and has created an ethos of trust and collegiality within the school. He is supported well by the deputy headteacher and the senior team.

“In partnership with staff, pupils and parents, senior leaders have developed and shared a clear vision for the school focused on ensuring every student leaves EHS ready to thrive in the wider community.

“The headteacher models leadership values and expectations well, has high expectations of all staff, and deploys them appropriately to make best use of their skills.”

Recommendations made to the school for the future are to:

Refine self-evaluation and improvement processes so that they focus sharply on teaching and its impact on pupils’ learning.
Improve teaching so that all pupils make the progress they are capable of.
Strengthen processes to monitor the progress of pupils with additional learning needs.
Strengthen the progressive development of reading, numeracy, digital and Welsh language skills across the curriculum.
Improve the attendance of pupils eligible for free school meals.

The school will draw up an action plan to show how it is going to address the recommendations and Estyn will work with the local authority to review the school’s progress.

By Rory Sheehan – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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