Inspection reforms 'flexible'
The overhaul of how Welsh inspection agency Estyn monitors the work of local education authorities has been broadly welcomed in town halls.
The aim is to create a more flexible, coherent regime with a greater emphasis on self-evaluation. The highlight for education directors is that each authority will have a say in which areas of their work are inspected - and how they are carried out.
Susan Lewis, Estyn's chief executive, said: "It will be a more flexible system. We will liaise with local authorities to agree an inspection package for the four-year period that suits them.
"The flexibility will also help us to improve co-ordination and joint working with other regulators and inspectorates."
Some of Estyn's work is carried out jointly with other agencies - LEA inspections are undertaken with the Audit Commission.
The exact workings of the new regime will depend to a large extent on the results of a current consultation with "stakeholders". But, for instance, some LEAs might want one "whole authority" inspection; others may prefer a series of smaller inspections.
One of the main challenges will be trying to meet all 22 authorities'
preferences in a four-year programme, and organising training. But Ms Lewis says the changes will give LEAs a voice in the inspection process via new nominees and peer assessors.
Consultations close on January 10. See www.estyn.gov.uk