Estyn praises National Star in Wales for encouraging students to aim high

Estyn is the education and training inspectorate for Wales. It provides an independent inspection and advice service on the quality and standards in education in Wales.

Inspectors spent two days observing teaching and talking to staff and students at National Star. Students were viewed as happy, polite and courteous. Staff were recognised for how well they knew learners and the high expectations they had for their achievements.

It was also recognised that careful planning and support from staff helped learners reach their individual targets and their emotional and health needs.

Inspectors observed that staff understood what ‘independence’ looked like for each learner and how this would support them as they transitioned into the community.

Strengthened work-related learning

Inspectors stated: ‘The College has strengthened the opportunities for learners to participate in work-related activities. It has developed positive relationships with a range of employers, both on site and externally, to enable learners to experience work-related opportunities in line with their interests and potential future destinations.’

Piyush is a student who has benefited from the efforts staff have made to build strong links in the community. Before lockdown he was regularly impressing people with his knowledge of history after landing his dream work placement at the National Museum, Cardiff. 

Piyush, or Mr P as he is affectionately known by National Star staff, shares facts about a range of artefacts when he works as a gallery assistant at the museum. He researches items on display at the museum before preparing a short presentation for visitors, which is programmed into his communication device.

‘I’m really enjoying my role of speaking to children and interacting with groups of people during my placement role at the National Museum Cardiff,’ said Mr P. ‘My favourite exhibit is the volcano exhibit and I have learnt a lot about volcanoes from the experience of being on my placement. I’m excited that I have helped groups of school children learn whilst being able to have fun!’ he added.

John Mann, Director of Services for National Star in Wales, said: ‘I am extremely proud of the whole team at National Star in Wales who work tirelessly to support students to achieve their aspirations and to prepare them for life after college.

Happy students

‘The fact that inspectors commented on how happy students were at college means so much to the team who plan sessions, work hard and in a person centred way ensure that our students achieve their long-term goals and gain skills for life after college,’ he added.

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