Cardiff secondary school taken out of Estyn monitoring

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A Cardiff secondary school covering some of the most deprived areas of the city has been removed from Estyn monitoring after improvements across the board in the last two years.

Headteacher of St Illtyd’s RC High David Thomas said the process “has been drawn out because of Covid”. Inspections were halted by the pandemic and Estyn has been contacting schools virtually.

In 2019, the school was judged “adequate” and in need of improvement across all five areas looked at by inspectors; standards, wellbeing and attitudes to learning, teaching and learning experiences, care, support and guidance and leadership and management.

Estyn said “very good” progress against four recommendations to improve the school means it no longer needs monitoring by the inspectorate.

St Illtyd’s, which covers the Rumney areas of the city, was told to raise standards, particularly in key GCSE years 10 and 11, strengthen leadership, improve quality of teaching and assessment and improve behaviour.

The school welcomed the news it has done all this and come out of Estyn monitoring.



David Thomas, headteacher, St Illtyd's High, Cardiff
David Thomas, headteacher, St Illtyd’s High, Cardiff

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Mr Thomas, who has been in post since 2018, added: “I am delighted. We have been pushing for a resolution to our Estyn status for a while and we were on the verge before Covid happened and put the process on hold.

“It is great news for St Illtyd’s and a testament to the hard work and dedication of the pupils and staff. It is also a justification to the parents and community who have never wavered in their faith and support of the school.

“The local authority and Central South Consortium have also been behind us every step of the way. The local authority wants to invest in the site and upgrade our facilities so that we can continue to serve our community as best we can.

“We are growing every year and this year we are oversubscribed again. It is an exciting time to be at the school and though this news confirms the advances we have made it is not an end in itself. We are always striving for continuous improvement.”

Chair of Governors, Father Brian Gray said: “As a governing body made up of parents, teachers and people from the community, it is good to see St Illtyd’s getting the recognition it deserves as a good school at the heart of this community.

“It is appreciated by us that this improvement has been witnessed by Estyn and given a public voice. Our thanks to all pupils, parents, staff and governors for their hard and continuing work.”

Pupil numbers have risen in recent years and have gone up again since the 872 on roll in 2019.

The school takes pupils from local Catholic primary schools and from other primary schools across the east of the city.

Estyn reported that around 28.0% of the pupils are eligible for free school meals, which is well above the national average of 16.4%. More than 67% of pupils live in the 20% most deprived areas in Wales. The percentage of pupils with special educational needs is around 33%, well above the national average of 22.9%.

While the school population is ethnically diverse no pupils speak Welsh at home, and only a few speak English as an additional language.



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