In a recent inspection of Thornhill Primary School in Cardiff, ESTYN found that pupils enjoy attending school and make notable progress in their social skills.
A report published by the Education Inspectorate for Wales, found that senior leaders have worked hard to create a feeling of mutual trust and respect between pupils and staff, a culture which plays a key role in ensuring the very positive attitudes that pupils have towards their learning.
Inspectors found that pupils’ behaviour across the school is exceptional and that the wellbeing of pupils and their families is an important focus for the school. This is demonstrated through a range of community engagement activities established during the pandemic which helped to develop pupil’s tolerance, respect and confidence skills successfully.
The report notes that most pupils make sound progress across the school, particularly those with additional learning needs (ALN) which make up 10% of the school’s pupil population. The provision for pupils’ personal development is effective and overall, the school’s curriculum offers a suitable range of learning experiences.
ESTYN provided four recommendations to the school; effectiveness of school improvement planning, to ensure that teaching across the school challenges all pupils, particularly those who are more able, develop younger pupils’ independence and creativity and to plan purposeful opportunities for pupils to develop their literacy, numeracy and digital skills across the curriculum.
Paul Tucker, Headteacher at the school said: “We are pleased that Estyn recognised our focus on the wellbeing of our school community, the range of community engagement and the excellent relationships we have.
“We have now written up our plan to address the recommendation and will continue to do our best for the children in our care.” Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry said: “Estyn have noted some of the great work taking place at Thornhill Primary School and I particularly enjoyed hearing of the wonderful initiatives undertaken at the school, that get the whole family involved in pupil’s learning.
“I know that the areas where improvements could be made will be a priority for the school and the Council will provide the appropriate support to achieving them.”
Estyn has adopted a new approach to inspection in schools and Pupil Referral Units across Wales. Inspection reports will no longer include summative gradings (e.g. ‘Excellent’, ‘Good’ or ‘Adequate’) and now focus on how well providers are helping a child to learn.
The new approach aligns with the personalisation of the new curriculum for Wales with inspections involving more in-person discussions, placing less emphasis on achievement data.
Estyn believe that the new inspection approach will make it easier for providers to gain meaningful insights that help them to improve without the spotlight on a judgement.
Every day’s a school day…
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