Estyn publish improvement strategies for two of Deeside`s High Schools
Estyn the Welsh schools Inspectorate, has published school improvement plans for Connah`s Quay High School and John Summers High School which they have been implementing in the last year.
Following the publication of school banding/performance results yesterday, Estyn today published case studies into how two Deeside High Schools have implemented school improvement plans.
John Summers and Connah`s Quay High Schools were classed as Band 2 in 2012 -band 1 is the highest however, John Summers has slipped to Band 3 in 2013, while Connah`s Quay retain band 2 status.
Critics of the banding system such as Aled Roberts AM Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Minister feel the school banding system is too simplistic, he said:
“No matter how schools in Wales have performed over the year, we already know that there will be a fixed amount of schools in each band. That is too crude and simplistic a system. Too often we are hearing of how parents are confused about why their children’s school has been re-banded despite the fact its results have stayed the same”
“In too many cases, the banding system and the results of Estyn inspections are at odds with each other and this creates uncertainty and instability within the sector.
The Welsh Government insist that banding is NOT about labelling schools, naming and shaming or creating a divisive league table.
Banding is about grouping schools according to a range of factors to establish priorities for support and to identify those from whom the sector can learn from.
The most important element of the banding system will be the framework of support and challenge that will be developed over time to accompany each band which is evident in the two case studies from Deeside`s High Schools
The inspectorate provides an insight into the common characteristics displayed by the two schools that have improved their provision from different starting points.
John Summers High School in Queensferry was a school that has travelled from being judged as unsatisfactory in 2005, to good in 2011.
In the report, the headteacher reflects on the three factors that had the biggest impact on improving standards, which were school culture, teaching and learning, and quality assurance.
The case studies are written by the current headteachers showing how they have significantly boosted the standards and performance in their school.
Ann Keane, Chief Inspector of Estyn, says,
“Different kinds of schools may need different styles of leadership. A school that is in special measures will need a different approach from what is needed in a school that is already maintaining high standards. Our inspectors have seen many schools at different stages of their improvement journey and our report today illustrates practical strategies that schools can implement themselves.
“Schools should use the improvement journey report to identify their own stage of development, to inform their planning and take action.”
There are a number of features that the inspectorate has identified as common to the improvement journey in all schools, whatever their stage of development. These are:
- A clear vision;
- Learners placed at the heart of provision;
- Teaching and assessment as the key to improving standards;
- Analysis of performance data;
- Strong focus on literacy and numeracy;
- High expectations of staff and pupils;
- Challenge from governors; and
- A curriculum that meets the needs of all learners.
John Summers High School Case Study: Click Here
Connah`s Quay High School Case Study: Click Here