Eithne Hughes, Director of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) Cymru comments on Estyn’s announcement that school inspections from the autumn will involve a deeper focus on the progress and attainment of pupils disadvantaged by poverty.
“Schools work incredibly hard to provide opportunities and support for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. They play a pivotal role in improving equity and social justice, and are on the frontline every day turning the drive for a fairer society into reality.
“However, they cannot do this on their own, and it is also the job of government at all levels, and other agencies, to tackle poverty and improve the prospects of disadvantaged families. Furthermore, school funding in Wales is completely inadequate and budgets are extremely tight. This limits the capacity for support that schools are able to provide.
“It is important that Estyn’s new focus on equity takes into account these wider factors, and does not make unrealistic expectations of schools. This needs to be a collaborative exercise based on professional dialogue rather than a stick with which to beat schools.”