Estyn's fairness not in question

14th April 2006 at 01:00
I was one of the speakers in a workshop at last month's Dysg conference on which your article, ("Estyn 'busybody' says skills group", TES Cymru, March 3), was based.

The workshop was about area inspections of post-16 education by Estyn. In my presentation I welcomed Estyn's area and adult and community-based learning inspection systems which both use Estyn's common inspection framework.

These two types of inspections are a challenge to providers to develop joint quality assurance systems for the wider benefit of learners.

I described some initial developments, in my own college and area, on responding to this challenge by sharing data, experiences and encouraging new partnerships.

You paraphrased me as wondering if inspectors' observations of learning sessions were consistent. Your reporter misunderstood me, as I was referring to observations undertaken by my own staff in Coleg Menai in preparation for the area inspection, not Estyn inspectors.

I have never questioned the consistency of Estyn's ability to grade and reach decisions fairly and in the interest of learners.

I discussed and advocated the value of collaborative staff development to share good practice in quality assurance systems between providers subject to area inspections. The applicability of the common inspection framework to this process is of fundamental importance and value.

It is a prerequisite to ensure a consistent approach throughout Wales with all providers in all circumstances.

In the article, you also refer to Menai college. Such an institution does not exist.

Dr Haydn Edwards Principal and chief executive Coleg Menai Bangor

Editor's note: Our apologies for the honest misunderstanding and for anglicising Coleg Menai.

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