Area(s) of focus: Improve school governance; Improve the quality/ consistency of leadership. School(s) or partnership name: Cyfarthfa High School Name of lead person: Carolyn Meade Role of lead person:  Headteacher Lead person e-mail address:  Local Authority(ies): Merthyr Tydfil Phase(s): Secondary   Context and background of case study For many years the governing body at Cyfarthfa […]

Effective Governing Body Structures to Enhance School Leadership – Cyfarthfa High School

Context and background to sector-leading practice In 2012, Brackla Primary School worked with the local cluster of schools to employ a Family Engagement Officer (FEO).  Initially, this was successful in developing opportunities for families to support their children.  However, as the FEO worked in six schools, the time spent in […]

Estyn: Brackla Primary School – Making Parents Partners in Learning

Context Maerdy Community Primary School caters for children aged three to eleven and includes a local authority specialist class for pupils with special educational needs. There are currently 244 children in full-time education. Forty two per cent of pupils are eligible for free school meals. The area is recognised as […]

Estyn: Maerdy Community Primary School – After School Provision to Develop Pupils’ Skills

With an ever increasing demand for their services, Ysgol Hen Felin managed to maintain a happy learning environment for pupils with severe behavioural and sensory difficulties. Recognising the specialism of one of their partners, they developed a new approach to manage pupils’ behaviours. This led to higher pupil wellbeing and […]

Estyn: Developing partnerships paves way to greater pupil engagement – Ysgol Hen Felin

Cardiff High School is an 11 to 18 school and Willows High School is an 11 to 16 school, both located in Cardiff. Willows High School has successfully overcome historical learner performance issues to become one of the highest performing schools (with similar levels of free school meals) for learners […]

Welsh Government – Teaching practice, methods and self-evaluation: Cardiff High School and Willows High School

Albert School, Penarth, has seen improvements in pupils’ motivation, engagement and the quality of work after involving learners in curriculum design. Number of learners: 406 Age range: 3-11 Date of Estyn inspection: September 2015 Information about the school Albert Primary School is in Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan local authority. […]

Estyn: Pupils Shape Their Own Curriculum – Albert School

Nature of strategy or activity identified as sector-leading practice: A significant amount of work was carried out to ensure the whole school community was part of establishing a long-term vision and school values that reflected the strong belief in all children and a commitment to the community in which they […]

Estyn: Herbert Thompson Primary School – Developing staff skills to improve standards for all learners

Treorchy Comprehensive School fast-tracks learners’ progress in subjects such as French, Mathematics and Welsh second language provision. The school’s flexible and balanced curriculum ensures it meets the needs of all learners, including identifying, on entry, more able and talented pupils. The fast-track opportunities have made a significant contribution to outstanding […]

Estyn: Treorchy Comprehensive School – The fast-track to success

Treorchy Comprehensive School works closely with its feeder primary schools to ensure pupils’ transition between key stage 2 and key stage 3 is consistent, including development Welsh language skills. Staff from the comprehensive school teach Welsh lessons to Year 6 pupils in their cluster primary schools and prepare resources and […]

Estyn: Treorchy Comprehensive School – Pride in the Welsh language brings success

Description of nature of strategy or activity: The school opened its Assistive Technology Centre in September 2010. The Advisory Centre for Education describes Assistive Technology as ‘any equipment or system that is used to increase or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities’. Four members of staff achieved professional qualifications […]

Estyn: Tŷ Gwyn Special School – Technology plays a significant role in helping pupils to achieve their potential

Nature of strategy or activity identified as sector-leading practice: The school started to re-think teacher support by defining coaching: Coaching is the development of teachers’ skills and knowledge so that their job performances and enjoyment of their roles improves. It involves a sharing partnership in which professionals support each other. […]

Estyn: Cardiff High School – Teacher coaching programme underpins excellence

Strategy: Mary Immaculate Catholic High School includes pupils’ development in skills in its teaching and learning policy. The school has rigorous monitoring procedures that challenge all pupils to meet their potential in all areas of their learning. The senior management team regularly undertake lesson observations, book reviews and pupil surveys […]

Estyn: Mary Immaculate Catholic High School – Monitoring provision for skills

Strategy: Subject teachers use the Essential Skills Wales curriculum to plan opportunities to develop pupils’ skills. The school provides pupils with a booklet in which they track their own progress in each of the skill areas. Action: Each subject department has a ‘skills champion’ who ensures that schemes of work […]

Estyn: Pen Y Dre High School – Involving pupils in their own progress in skills

St. Philip Evans R.C Primary School, Cardiff, aims to strengthen pupil participation and increase the opportunities for all children by involving them in decision making. Staff have been trained how to organise activities taking into account pupils’ views. Children are consulted about how they want to learn which helps with […]

Estyn: St Philip Evans R.C. Primary School – Giving pupils a voice

Heronsbridge School, Bridgend, has introduced a behaviour management programme to help improve pupil communication and independence. Staff received training to ensure a consistent approach across the school and the method of recording incidents was improved. As a result, pupils are able to receive personal support plans and the number of […]

Estyn: Heronsbridge School – Managing behaviour

Activity: Excellent transition arrangements from key stage 2 to key stage 3 include: transfer of attainment data, which is used well by the secondary school identification of pupils who are more able and/or talented by Year 6 teachers parents of pupils in Year 6 given the opportunity to identify areas […]

Estyn: Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg – Transition arrangements and identification of more able and talented pupils

Activity: in 2006-2007, a group of Year 7 more able and talented pupils were identified and withdrawn for one hour a fortnight for mathematics, English and science in 2007-2008, the school set up a successful more able and talented working party to work alongside the school’s teaching and learning forums […]

Estyn: Y Pant Comprehensive School – Identification, assessment, tracking and improving provision for a group of Year 7 more able and talented pupils from 2006 to 2011

Strategy: Senior managers give staff opportunities to acquire and further their specialist skills as well as reflect on and share the most effective practice. They use occasions such as INSET days to build a strong culture of professional development throughout the school. In addition, highly effective networks of professional practice […]

Estyn: Ty Gwyn School – Statutory INSET in schools

Strategy: A key priority of the school is to embed the development of pupils’ skills into the school’s curriculum framework. Recognising that literacy is central to the success of every pupil, the school’s strategy is to provide a rich variety of literacy experiences across all subjects, so that pupils can […]

Estyn: Cynffig Comprehensive School – Statutory INSET in schools

Strategy: Senior managers place a very strong emphasis on the professional development of all staff. They ensure that staff have access to a wide range of training opportunities, including INSET, external courses, peer observation and departmental review. As a result, there are very good opportunities for staff to develop their […]

Estyn: Y Pant Comprehensive School – Statutory INSET in schools

The senior management team at All Saints CIW Primary have used distributed leadership to communicate their shared vision to staff at the school.  Effective pastoral support for staff promotes effective teamwork. The impact: improved standards of teaching and assessment.  Pupils’ standards have also improved, particularly in the core subjects. Description of nature […]

Estyn: All Saints C.I.W. Primary School – Happy teachers, happy pupils

Action: The initial focus of school training was on teachers who were already familiar with assessment for learning and thinking skills through the Cognitive Acceleration through Mathematics and Let’s Think in Science initiatives. The programme was then gradually introduced across the school, building on the good practice, experiences and enthusiasm […]

Estyn: St Athan Primary School – Developing thinking skills and assessment for learning – rolling out the programme in a primary school

At Ysgol Ty Coch, techniques for the assessment for learning and thinking skills programme have been adapted to suit the needs of pupils with a range of special educational needs.  Staff have developed a ‘traffic light’ system using two colours for pupils to talk about their learning. This programme has had […]

Estyn: Ysgol Ty Coch – Strong focus on pupils’ learning needs

Children and parents/ carers at Cogan nursery school, Vale of Glamorgan, have benefited from the nursery’s effective use of technology to involve the community in learning. From sharing videos of story-telling and mathematics, to a blog providing advice, the nursery has successfully engaged its stakeholders. As a result, parents have become […]

Estyn: Cogan Nursery School – Sharing learning through social media

The standards of pupils’ literacy at this large primary school in an urban setting were low. The headteacher and staff analysed why this might be. They found that a main cause was that many pupils experienced very little verbal interaction at home and, as a consequence, they were not exposed […]

Estyn: Greenway Primary School – Raising pupils’ standards of literacy

Two teachers wanted to develop new knowledge and skills in engaging pupils with severe learning difficulties in more physical activity. The pupils had very low concentration spans and they did not always relate well to one another. The teachers attended sessions on how to use music and dance to engage […]

Estyn: The Hollies Special School – Developing new techniques to extend the range of physical activity with pupils with special education needs

This case study shows how teachers in a boys’ secondary school used continuing professional development funding to improve their knowledge of innovative approaches to promoting learners’ critical thinking skills. The teachers attended a leading-edge conference on innovative learning. The teachers benefitted from first-hand experience of discussing with colleagues their whole-school […]

Estyn: Aberdare High School – Monitoring the development of learners’ critical thinking skills

Maesteg School in Bridgend recognises that there are barriers that impact on progress for a majority of pupils. The school provides an extensive range of intervention strategies, including individual mentoring, alternative pathways providing personalised programmes, highly specialised additional learning support and partnerships with other agencies. The impact of any intervention […]

Estyn: Maesteg School – Strategies to reduce barriers to progress and ensure support for every pupil

Trerobart Primary School, Rhondda Cynon Taff, provides many opportunities for pupils to develop their reading, writing and oracy skills. The school links studies of particular topics with genre such as science fiction, fantasy, historical novels and graphic novels to enhance reading skills and engage pupils’ interest. Over time, the school has […]

Estyn: Trerobart Primary School – Achieving results in literacy

Porthcawl Comprehensive School ensures that support programmes are put in place to help pupils with the transition from primary to secondary school. Questionnaires are used to identify children that have particular concerns and these pupils are then invited to join the ‘Helping Hands’ group. The school arranges extra visits for any […]

Estyn: Porthcawl Comprehensive School – Effective transition from primary to secondary school

Strategy: The school promotes its mission statement “Learning and Living Together” through building strong partnerships with its parents and the local community. During the past three years, as part of its drive to improve standards in literacy, the school has made increasing parental engagement a priority. The school’s strategy to […]

Estyn: Mount Stuart Primary School – Developing effective strategies to engage with parents and carers

Strategy: Part of the school’s strategic planning is to create stronger links with parents and the local community, so as to ensure that disadvantaged learners are well supported. The school has focused attention on learners’ transition from key stage 2 to key stage 3 and monitors carefully learners’ progress and […]

Estyn: Cathays High School – Creating stronger links with parents and the local community to ensure that disadvantaged learners are well-supported

Strategy: The school and the school’s aims and values reflect the development of the whole child. The school ethos is based on the wellbeing of all learners and staff, and the school motto, “We all believe, we all achieve!” is evident throughout the school. To ensure effective support for its […]

Estyn: Llwynypia Primary School – Data collection and tracking learners’ progress in wellbeing and academic performance

Strategy: A task and finish group consisting of headteachers and local authority officers developed the framework to provide a systematic and rigorous approach to managing attendance. The five steps in the strategy are as follows: Step 1 – School-based intervention such as demonstrating a clear attendance ethos, interventions of form […]

Estyn: Fitzalan High School – The impact of delegation and implementation of a five-step framework in a secondary high school and its primary school cluster in Cardiff

Strategy: The main areas of focus for the strategy are to: improve the school's engagement with the parents from the Czech and Slovak community reduce issues related to bullying and discrimination against pupils from the Czech and Slovak Roma community improve the self-esteem of pupils from this community through engaging […]

Estyn: Cathays High School – Addressing the needs of pupils from the Czech and Slovak Roma community

Nature of strategy or activity identified as sector-leading practice: Through the schools' information management system, every teacher, head of department, head of year and senior management link receives information on pupils' social background and prior attainment. This has led to detailed planning for progression for every pupil, including vulnerable groups […]

Estyn: Cathays High School – Supporting vulnerable groups of pupils

Action The school decided to use ICT to develop the teaching and learning of literacy. While studying World War 2, Year 5 and 6 classes used Michael Morpurgo’s ‘Friend or Foe’ as a stimulus for work in English. The children focused on the main characters’ evacuation to Devon. Pupils worked collaboratively […]

Estyn: Penybont Primary School – Enhancing literacy through the use of ICT

Description of nature of strategy or activity: The main strategies for developing thinking skills at the school include: Thinking Maps: Pupils use thinking maps from the nursery to Year 6 and across all areas of the curriculum. Teachers are also deploying them as an effective way of structuring pupils’ independent […]

Estyn: Rhydypenau Primary School – Get your thinking hat on!

Description of nature of strategy or activity: In line with recommendations of the Welsh Government, the school used the triangle of provision as a curriculum model for the Foundation Phase. Having seen the benefits of this activity-based curriculum in Early Years and in Year 1, the school was very keen […]

Estyn: Rhydypenau Primary School – Setting the foundations of lifelong learning

Strategy The school took a whole-family approach to tackling disadvantage. Senior managers developed a strategy that included: establishing multi-agency partnerships; a training programme for staff; and a plan for family support and learning A key part of this strategy was to use Canopi to coordinate multi-agency working to support disadvantaged […]

Estyn: Treorchy Primary School – Multi-agency work

Nature of strategy or activity identified as sector-leading practice: In order to improve wellbeing and community cohesion an ‘open door policy’ was introduced. Weekly family learning sessions were established for parents to attend with pupils. Termly ‘Bring a Parent’ afternoons were introduced where all parents or grandparents attend with their […]

Estyn: Miskin Primary School – Family Learning

Strategy The teacher plans activities in such a way that all pupils follow the main body of the lesson, but the tasks for more able pupils and less able pupils are adapted accordingly to provide appropriate levels of challenge. In addition, a teaching assistant provides very effective support to pupils, […]

Estyn: Litchard Primary School – Good practice lesson, a science theme in a primary school

Strategy The school’s strategy has been to use the findings from self-evaluation to update and improve their provision for numeracy across the school and hence drive up pupils’ standards in numeracy. Action To prepare for the implementation of the National Literacy and Numeracy Framework, work was carried out in the […]

Estyn: St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School – A digital, whole-school numeracy map with planning, lesson and best practice resources

Strategy To develop a whole-school approach to numeracy, including the introduction of transitional units of work and targeted intervention schemes to improve pupils’ numeracy. Action Almost one-quarter of pupils entering the school at key stage 3 were below the expected level in National Curriculum assessments in mathematics (level 4). The […]

Estyn: St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School – Improving numeracy through transitional work