Mary Immaculate R.C. High School recognised by Estyn for its vision to support pupils’ outcomes and commitment to well-being

Mary Immaculate R.C. High School has received high praise following an inspection by Estyn, His Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales.

The report applauds the school’s approach to reducing the impact of poverty on pupil outcomes, its warm and inclusive learning environment, strong support for well-being and its model of Professional Learning and highly effective leadership at all levels.

The inspection highlighted several of the many positive aspects of Mary Immaculate R.C. High School:

  • Reducing the impact of poverty on outcomes:Through a strategic vision and clear pattern of support in multiple areas, pupils achieve at a high level even though they may face challenges. The school effectively identifies and removes these barriers to learning.
  • Well-Being and Inclusivity:The school is described as a warm and inclusive learning community where pupils and staff feel welcome and valued. Through well-considered Bridge provision and partnerships with outside agencies, the school provides strong support for pupils’ well-being.
  • Effective Leadership:The headteacher, senior team, staff, and governors are passionate advocates for the school and the community it serves. Leaders demonstrate a heartfelt commitment to equity, enabling all pupils to participate and succeed, regardless of background or social context.
  • Engaging Curriculum:Staff, pupils, and parents have contributed to building an engaging curriculum in Years 7 and 8.


Estyn have invited the school to prepare case studies on its work for dissemination on Estyn’s website in relation to: an effective tiered approach to professional learning and reducing the impact of poverty on educational attainment through a whole school strategic focus on supporting pupils and their families

While celebrating the school’s achievements, the report highlights specific areas for improvement which will be addressed through the school’s action plan.


  • Welsh Language Skills:Opportunities for pupils to develop their Welsh language skills.
  • Self-Evaluation and Improvement Planning:The school is encouraged to continue strengthening processes for self-evaluation and improvement planning, with a focus on the impact of the school’s work on pupils’ learning.
  • Assessment Quality and Consistency:The school is advised to improve the quality and consistency of assessment practices.

Mary Immaculate headteacher Huw Powell said: “This is an extremely positive report that recognises the hard work, dedication and passion of the entire school community.  I am especially pleased that all staff, from the senior leadership team, classroom teachers and all our school staff have been praised by Estyn for their efforts.   At Mary Immaculate, our goal is to achieve the best for all, and this report demonstrates that is exactly what we all strive to do every day.

“We are also very proud to have been invited by Estyn to prepare two case studies – something only a very few schools are asked to do.”


Cardiff’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Education, Cllr Sarah Merry said: “This recent inspection by Estyn highlights the school’s dedication to providing a warm and inclusive learning environment for its pupils with a strong focus on well-being.

“It is pleasing to hear that pupils participate in an extensive range of opportunities to develop their leadership skills and play an active part in the life of the school, for example by contributing to decisions in the pupil parliament on uniform changes and the range of sports activities available. In addition, they steer pupil activity and interests, for example as Digital Leaders, Bridge Prefects or in groups such as the eco-club.

“I would like to congratulate the school on its effective leadership, and community engagement which is having a positive effect to all who attend Mary Immaculate R.C. High School.”

During the time of inspection, the school had 815 pupils on roll including those in the sixth form. 39.6% of pupils eligible for free school meals and 14.2% identified as having additional learning needs. English is the primary language for students, with 8.5% having English as an additional language.

Estyn has adopted anew approach to inspection in schools and Pupil Referral Units across Wales. Inspection reports will no longer include summative gradings (e.g. ‘Excellent’, ‘Good’ or ‘Adequate’) and now focus on how well providers are helping a child to learn.

The new approach aligns with the personalisation of the new curriculum for Wales with inspections involving more in-person discussions, placing less emphasis on achievement data.

Estyn believe that the new inspection approach will make it easier for providers to gain meaningful insights that help them to improve without the spotlight on a judgement.