Secondary schools failing to support talented pupils in Wales
A report by Estyn has found that more able students in Wales are failing to achieve as high as their counterparts in England, and are blaming a lack of support from schools for the discrepancy.
Estyn report raises concerns
The report suggests that schools in Wales are not doing all that they can to support their most talented pupils and prolonged neglect could lead to disruptive behaviour from these students. Chief Inspector for Estyn, Ann Keane, commented “Schools need to consider whether they are offering children the full range of experiences and opportunities that will enable them to reach their potential and prosper.”
Key findings from the report include:
- few schools in Wales identify, support and challenge more able and talented pupils
- of the ones that do; overall exam results have improved
- more talented Welsh students do not achieve as well as those in England
- since 2008, too few pupils were exceeding expectations in the core subjects of English or Welsh, mathematics and science
- too few pupils achieved GCSE grades A* or A in these core subjects
National Association for Able Children in Education comments
According to Wales Online, the report was welcomed by the National Association for Able Children in Education (Nace), Chief Executive Rowena Gaston who observed that there are success stories in schools throughout Wales and that greater attention on these issues was helping to improve standards. “Although the report’s findings indicate that the provision for more able pupils is not consistent across schools in Wales, we are encouraged by the commitment shown by a significant number of schools to improving that provision and sharing best practice in the most effective approaches.”
Welsh Government acknowledges concerns
The Welsh Government agreed that more needed to be done, and that raises standards throughout Wales was central to Education Minister Leighton Andrews’ education plans. A spokesperson for the Government said that “Whilst we recognise from the Estyn report that more needs to be done to encourage schools to adequately identify more able and talented pupils, we note the positive response to the support provided by the Welsh Government and National Association for Able Children in Education (NACE).
The Government added: "We will be writing to local authorities to draw their attention to this report and encourage them to address the recommendations contained within it."