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Significant improvements at high school in Cardiff following Estyn report

Mrs Sarah Parry. Credit: Huw John.
Llanishen High School is celebrating the release of a positive Estyn report this week following a full school inspection earlier this year.
Striving to create a supportive, inclusive learning environment that nurtures individual growth and success, Llanishen High School goes beyond the academic to develop learning programmes that bolster the curriculum while also developing essential life skills. With the school’s latest inspection completed in September 2023 as the first since 2016, the report was broken down into five key areas with inspectors noting: 
  • Learning – pupils are making good progress in their subject knowledge and understanding; 
  • Wellbeing and attitudes towards learning – students value the inclusive culture of the school and feel as though teachers care for them as individuals;
  • Teaching and learning experiences – teachers create a safe, calm environment for learning. Some cases were highlighted where inspirational teaching resulted in pupils making rapid progress; 
  • Care, support and guidance – with the school aiming to nurture individual growth and personal success for all;
  • Leadership – with headteacher Mrs Sarah Parry, recognised for her strategic vision. The report noted that since her appointment, “she has led the school successfully and systematically on its improvement journey, creating a strong sense of community and mutual endeavour.”
Following its positive feedback, the school was also invited to produce two case studies for Estyn regarding its extensive extracurricular programme which enriches the student experience, and also the decisive actions taken to reduce the impact of poverty on its student body. 
Speaking of the report, headteacher Mrs Sarah Parry said: “I am so proud of our diverse, vibrant and inclusive school community. The strengths that are captured in the report show that our mission to create a supportive, inclusive environment that nurtures individual growth and success is woven through every aspect of our daily school life. 
“I would like to commend our incredible staff body which demonstrates passion and care every day. I would also like to extend my sincere thanks to our students, their families, and our governing body for their contribution to this very unique school.”
Serving the North of Cardiff, Llanishen High School caters to a diverse, growing student body. At the time of inspection, 1,738 pupils were enrolled across Years 7-13, an 11% increase since the 2016 inspection.  
The chair of governors, Mr John Caddick added: “Since the last Estyn inspection in 2016, Llanishen High School has been on a journey of complete transformation. I would like to celebrate the ongoing and sustained progress that has resulted in improved outcomes and life chances for our students. 
“It is clear from the inspection report that the well-being of the students is central to all decision-making in the school.  It is a warm, welcoming, vibrant and diverse community where every individual can succeed. We look forward to celebrating these strengths and ensuring that these high standards continue and improve. Many congratulations to everyone at Llanishen High School.”
Estyn has no plans to revisit the school. However, in line with typical procedures following a full inspection, the school will draw up an action plan to address the recommendations shared which include:
  • R1. Strengthen self-evaluation and improvement planning so that they focus more precisely on the impact of teaching on learning
  • R2. Improve the provision for the progressive development of pupils’ skills including Welsh across the curriculum
  • R3. Improve the quality and impact of written feedback
  • R4. Continue to improve attendance