1.         A note clarifying the data on the proportion of schools in follow-up


For clarity, we have added columns to Figure 3.22 from HMCI’s Annual Report for 2015-2016 to show the proportions that Mr Llyr Gruffydd referred to during Committee (see rightmost columns). The proportions for 2010-2011 were lower compared with the rest of the cycle. However, the data for 2010-2011 are anomalous. The reason for this is that Estyn introduced in-housing of school inspections in September 2010, but 2010-2011 was a transitional year, when half of inspections were still contracted out to independent inspectors. Since that year, the proportion of schools placed in the follow-up categories of special measures, significant improvement and Estyn monitoring have remained broadly constant – the total proportions for these categories being 36%, 38%, 43%, 38% and 35% for the last five years (a slight increase followed by a decline over the most recent years). It is these proportions that explain why we feel there is no significant increase in the level of follow-up, although the level itself is a cause for concern. For information, the local authority (LA) monitoring category has been discontinued during this present academic year (2016-2017). This is because this category was always intended as a reminder to LAs of their responsibility to monitor progress made by low-risk schools in addressing recommendations made during inspection – a role that they and regional consortia are now undertaking more effectively than in the past.




2.      A note on community focused schools including examples of good practice of what makes a good community focused school.

The following summarises findings from inspections over the last five years in schools across Wales regarding partnership work between schools and their communities. Appendix 1 identifies best practice case studies that further illustrate the work of effective community-focused schools.  Generally, schools place a high priority on developing and strengthening community links.  Schools main purposes in establishing these links is to improve outcomes for pupils, particularly disadvantaged pupils, and also to provide services to the communities they serve.  Schools that are successful in establishing effective community partnerships:

·         Establish and implement a vision that places the school at the heart of the community

·         Ensure the school has a welcoming ethos to all stakeholders, in particular parents and carers

·         Create effective community engagement plans that focus on improving outcomes for pupils

·         Use specific activities to improve educational outcomes and wellbeing, such as family learning projects and workshops to help parents know how best to help their children to improve key skills or in particular areas of the curriculum

·         Engage with parents and carers of disadvantaged learners successfully to help them and their children to overcome barriers to learning and wellbeing

·         Engage in ‘Team around the family’ approaches, using the pool of skills within the team to address the health, domestic and social welfare concerns of learners and their families

·         Support pupils and their families well to engage with specialist services, for example when pupils have special educational needs.  These often include educational psychologists, speech therapists and physiotherapists

·         Identify specific challenges in their local areas and strengthen community links to tackle these.  For example, raise attendance rates, improve behaviour, raise the level of parental support and reduce the incidence of vandalism

·         Provide pupils with special educational needs with valuable opportunities to engage with their local communities to develop life skills

·         Establish effective arrangements to provide care facilities before and after the school day, for example through breakfast club (usually primary schools)


The above approaches often have a positive impact on outcomes for pupils and for parents.  These include:


·         Improvements in pupil attendance

·         Improved standards of behaviour

·         Improved literacy and numeracy skills

·         Improved parental capacity to support their child at school

·         Improved relationships between parents and schools and between parents and their children

·         Supporting parents to access education and employment to improve their family circumstances

·         Supporting parents that are new to the country to find a ‘place’ in the community support their children successfully

·         Enable parents to work in the knowledge that their children are well looked after before and after school


Estyn has produced several reports on pupil deprivation. The main findings of these reports are summarised in ‘Pupil Deprivation’ (Estyn, May 2014), which is available at:




The report notes that schools alone cannot break the link between disadvantage and achievement. Although the school has an important role to play in improving the achievements of disadvantaged learners, research stresses the need for broad-based approaches that involve a number of agencies working together to address community-based issues. In addition to the school, these include other educational, social and health services.


Some of the multi-agency strategies used by schools for this purpose are summarised in the following diagram from the report:





Appendix 1


Name of School

Case Study/inspection report


Cefn Hengoed Community School, Swansea

A holistic approach to improving attendance



Treorchy Comprehensive School

3.3 Partnership working



Tredegarville Primary School, Cardiff

Effective partnerships that engage children and enrich the curriculum



Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg y Castell, Caerphilly

Improving outcomes for pupils receiving free school meals



Monkton Priory CP School, Pembrokeshire

Supporting adult learning and skills acquisition



Ysgol Maesglas, Flintshire

Building partnerships with families



St Helen’s Primary School, Swansea

Engaging with parents to improve pupil attendance



Garnteg Primary School, Torfaen  

Working in partnership with parents to raise learner literacy and numeracy



Severn Primary School, Cardiff

Finding new ways to widen pupils’ experiences



Wrexham early years centre, Wrexham

Engaging and supporting parents and families




More case studies are available at www.estyn.gov.wales


Further reading

Leadership and primary school improvement – September 2016


Best practice in leadership development in schools - June 2015


Twelve secondary school improvement journeys - December 2013


Working together to tackle the impact of poverty on educational achievement - December 2013


Effective practice in tackling poverty and disadvantage in schools - November 2012


Tackling poverty and disadvantage in schools: working with the community and other services - July 2011