Estyn: Engaging All Pupils in the Welsh Language – Greenfield Special School

At Greenfield Special School, senior leaders have embraced the challenge to improve pupils’ Welsh language skills. As a result, nearly all pupils make extensive progress in relation to their needs, abilities and starting points.


Number of learners: 178

Age range: 3-19

Date of inspection: March 2017


Information about the school

Greenfield School is a special school maintained by Merthyr Tydfil local authority.  There are 178 pupils on roll aged from 3 to 19.  All pupils have statements of special educational needs for severe learning difficulties, profound and multiple learning difficulties, autistic spectrum disorder or social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.

The headteacher and the senior leadership team have been in post since September 2014.


Context and background to sector-leading practice

The headteacher and the senior leadership team have a clear strategic direction for the school and provide pupils with positive and high quality learning experiences.  They promote a culture of high aspirations and expectations for all staff and pupils.  Senior leaders embraced the challenge to improve pupils’ Welsh language development and encourage the regular use of the language.  These ambitious improvements became strategic priorities for the staff and governors of the school.


Nature of the strategy or activity identified as sector leading practice

The starting point for planning these improvements was the outcomes of the school’s own quality assurance processes.  These processes highlighted the need for a change of culture, full staff buy-in and increased staff confidence if the school was to achieve its ambitious targets.  As a result, over the last three years, the school has placed particular emphasis on extending the opportunities for staff and pupils to learn Welsh, to use their Welsh language skills confidently and proudly around the school and to promote worthwhile opportunities to learn about the culture and heritage of Wales.


Culture and ethos

Leaders at all levels at Greenfield School promote a highly inclusive and caring community that values and supports all of its pupils and staff.  The school motto ‘opening doors to the future’ permeates through all aspects of its work successfully.  Leaders have developed a positive culture of continuous improvement throughout the school and the attitude towards the Welsh language is outstanding.

All staff have a thorough understanding of the school’s strategic direction and values in relation to Welsh language development and reflect these well through their own work.  This helps to promote the very positive ethos at the school and contributes to extensive progress that nearly all pupils make in their Welsh language skills in relation to their needs, abilities and starting points.


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