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24 January 2017, 10:10
The latest report from school inspectors Estyn has found the quality of teaching is the biggest influence on how well learners learn, but it is the weakest aspect of provision across most areas of education in Wales.
It found overall, too few schools help staff to make the best of professional learning opportunities and do not routinely evaluate whether these activities result in improvements for learners.
The report recommends that leaders should create better opportunities for teachers to develop their professional skills.
Chief Inspector Meilyr Rowlands said:
“What needs to be done to raise standards in education in Wales is becoming clearer and improving teaching will have a long-term effect on quality and standards in the classroom. The best teachers have high expectations, challenge their pupils, and think critically about their own practice. Leaders in education need to have a strong focus on providing suitable opportunities for the professional development of staff at all levels in order to nurture confident and creative teaching and learning.
It is by continuing to improve professional learning and school-to-school collaboration that we can drive out the variability that still exists in our education system."
The Chief Inspector urges schools and other education settings to ask themselves how far their organisation has established a culture that encourages and fosters staff development and professional learning.
The Welsh Government’s Education Secretary Kirsty Williams responded:
“I have been clear since coming into post that improving standards of teaching and leadership in our schools is one of my highest priorities, which is why I recently announced a new National Academy for Educational Leadership in Wales. We are also transforming initial teacher education, launching new professional standards, and introducing a national approach to professional learning and development. No one can accuse us of sitting back and accepting the status quo.”