Watchdogs or Visionaries?

Perspectives on the History of the Education Inspectorate in Wales

Editor(s) Ann Keane

Language: English

Genre(s): Social Policy and Law

  • November 2022 · 248 pages ·216x138mm

  • · Paperback - 9781786839404
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781786839411
  • · eBook - epub - 9781786839428

About The Book

This is a ground-breaking history of school and college inspection in Wales. With contributions from two former chief inspectors, two former HMI and leading historians, it offers an authoritative account of how the inspectorate has changed over time. Since their beginnings in 1839, HMI have steered a course between being instruments of the state and independent influencers of education policy and practice. They have been much-valued catalysts for improvement in schools and colleges, and have had a key role in promoting the teaching of the Welsh language, history and culture. This book is written for anyone concerned with the history of education in Wales, the history of accountability in education, with approaches to school improvement, and the extent to which HMI have influenced or been at odds with education policy making. At a time when the inspectorate itself is under review, this is a timely reminder of its wide-ranging services.


‘Estyn remains a unique institution. With the greatest breadth and depth of educational experience in any Welsh organisation, its challenge has always been how best to utilise its abilities to support the development of the Welsh education and training systems. This book provides a vital insight into the development of education and training in Wales and of the changing role of the inspectorate and Estyn along the decades. Most importantly it highlights, from a historical perspective, the challenges that remain in Wales and how, as we embark on a new phase of school education in particular, Estyn can support its development in tandem with its core role as ensuring accountability for standards.’
Owen Evans, His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education and Training in Wales, Estyn


Notes on contributors
Introduction - Ann Keane
1 The origins and development of the inspectorate in Wales, 1839–1907 - Russell Grigg
2 Owen Edwards, the Welsh Department and the curriculum, 1907–25 - Ann Keane
3 The inspectorate between 1925 and 1970: responses and reactions - Alun Morgan
4 Inspecting and reporting in a changing educational climate, 1970–92 - Roy James
5 Challenge and transition: the inspectorate in Wales, 1992–2020 - Barry Norris
6 Women in the inspectorate in Wales - Sian Rhiannon Williams
7 Devolution, education policy and inspection in Wales: a policy analysis - David Egan
8 Inspection in Wales and internationally: some comparisons - Russell Grigg and Ann Keane
The future - Ann Keane
Appendix I
The statutory basis of the inspectorate
Appendix II
List of Wales senior or chief inspectors
Appendix III
List of key milestones
Selected bibliography

About the Editor(s)

Author(s): Ann Keane

Ann Keane taught in secondary, further and higher education sectors, in Wales and England, before joining HMI (Wales) in 1984. Since her retirement as chief inspector in 2015, she has been a Welsh Government Board member and has undertaken consultancy and research work.

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