Wales Pupils Judged on Happiness

Just to prove I can write hard news:

The way in which Welsh schools are inspected is going to go through a “fundamental change” and put a new emphasis on child welfare when the new inspection cycle begins in 2010, it has been revealed.

Although the final draft of changes will not be announced until April 7th, it is known that the Welsh Inspectorate intend to follow the lead of Education Secretary Ed Balls and judge schools on a whole raft of different criteria, most notably ways of judging schools on their pupils happiness, rather than just exam results and academic progress

The new inspections will now include “learner well being” as a central aspect of the way they judge school’s effectiveness. After a series of public consultations on proposals for the next cycle of elections in 2010, a document produced by the Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales (ESTYN) outlining the changes said: “Learner wellbeing may include arrangements for the safeguarding of children, the implementation of anti-bullying policies and include benchmarking rates of pupil attendance and exclusions”

“There would also be a focus on pupil participation and healthy living.”
This new framework comes after a number of media reports about the level of misbehaviour in Britain’s schools. This week, a teacher was found guilty of professional misconduct and suspended for a year after she secretly filmed shocking scenes of misbehaviour on behalf of both pupils and staff in four comprehensive schools round Britain.
ESTYN also intend to make inspections substantially shorter, focusing on “core” aspects, but underperforming schools will be subject to “follow up” inspection activity: “We aim to simply the way we inspect. The new inspection framework will focus clearly on giving us the information we need to target support where it is needed most.”

ESTYN also intend to give shorter periods of notice to schools they intend to inspect, saying: This would increase public confidence that inspections are based on provision that has not been stage managed.”

It remains to be seen how ESTYN’s proposals will be accepted by Welsh head teachers. The National Association of Head Teachers have condemned the Ed Balls’ similar plan in England as “fundamentally flawed” saying it is “absurd” to try and judge a child’s happiness on a series of criteria: said: “We are disappointed that the Government is spending time and money developing indicators which will indicate nothing of any substance.”

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