Why we need more changes. Introduction. Poverty has a big effect on education. The Welsh Government know that a good education is really important.

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2 Introduction The Welsh Government know that a good education is really important. It gives learners the best opportunities in life. There have been many good things happening in Wales: better GSCE and A-Level results However, there are some issues that we need to face: GCSE results aren t keeping up with the rest of the UK standards in some schools could be improved. We are committed to making the education in Wales even better. So we are reforming the system so that we can focus on three main areas: improving levels of literacy reading and writing improving levels numeracy maths and numbers reducing the impact of deprivation poverty, lack of money or lack of resources. Some of these changes are already making a difference but we know we can do more. Why we need more changes. The education of every country is measured and compared every three years by a system called Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). In 2009 we didn t do as well as England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Across Wales some areas are doing better than others. North Wales, Southwest Wales, and Mid Wales are above the Welsh average but South East Wales and Central South Wales are below. Across Wales different schools also have different levels of learners reaching their goals. This can be because some schools are in areas where they face poverty and large numbers of learners get free school meals while other schools don t. Poverty has a big effect on education. The good news is that in 2011 more primary school children receiving free schools meals reached their goals in reading and mathematics than in This means that we narrowed the gap that poverty makes in lives. However in secondary schools the gap got bigger and fewer learners in poorer areas, receiving free school meals reached their goals, part of this was because of high levels of absence from school. 2

3 Our aim Our aim By 2014 we want the number of young people who leave secondary school with GCSE Level 2 in English/Welsh and mathematics to increase whether they have free school meals or not. Secondary school performance graph 70% 65% 60% 55% 50% 45% 40% 35% 30% Learners reaching Level 2 including English/Welsh and Mathematics As you can see if we do not make these changes now we will not meet our goals. This booklet tells you about some of the new changes we want to make in three main areas. 3

4 1. Schools effective learning and teaching in schools Improving the quality of teaching in literacy and numeracy Wales has National Literacy and Numeracy programmes that aim to make standards higher. They support teachers and the curriculum too. Some of the things we want to do to add to these programmes are: work with experts to produce high-quality teaching materials and resources look at how Estyn assess teachers and see if there are any changes that need to be made We also want to help teachers understand how PISA measures and marks our education system against other countries by creating training materials on the type of skills they look at. ICT in the classroom is important. We are making this easier by having a new Hwb launched in 2012 that will mean resources can be found anytime, anywhere and on any device. We ll also be doing other things like having a National Digital Learning Event in June Supporting teachers and support staff in professional development We want all teachers to have good, strong literacy and numeracy skills. We also want to raise the quality of teachers entering the education system in Wales. Teacher training for people who want to enter teaching from September We will: have a system to test the literacy and numeracy skills of those entering teaching look at all teacher training introduce an Additional Graduate Programme to get people who have good degrees to work in some of the more challenging schools while they complete their teacher training. Professional development We want to help teachers to continue training and develop their skills and keep up-to-date in the latest research and resources. From opportunity to follow a Masters in Educational Practice (MEP) funded by the Department for Education and Skills. 4

5 Welsh-medium education We want Welsh-medium schools to have good leadership and trained teachers to use ICT and good resources and materials that are in Welsh. Strengthening our approach to inclusion and safeguarding In March 2011 a new Behaviour and Attendance action plan was developed. To build on this we want to identify good examples and create resources and materials to help learners stay in school or get back to school as quickly as possible. Schools play an important part in tackling poverty and improving children s lives. We want to introduce a 32.4 million Pupil Deprivation Grant for schools to tackle poverty. We want to keep safe and support vulnerable children or those with special needs so they can reach their goals in education. This means we will support and work with all the plans other Welsh Government departments have to improve in these areas. 2. : Effective leadership at all levels in schools For leaders in schools to be excellent, they need to set high expectations for everyone, by improving and communicating their vision. Support leadership development We want to help the professional development of school leaders. We will do this by having online courses, making sure challenging schools are supported and other development programmes too. Strengthening school governance We want to make sure that governing bodies have all the skills, materials and training they need to carry out their role in the school system. Improving the performance management of headteachers We want headteachers to look at how their whole school is doing. They should be looking at national priorities as well as school priorities so that they reach all goals. We also want to support them in any training they need. 5

6 3. Building effective partnerships around schools Schools are at the heart of a wider system. Good relationships between schools, local authorities, other groups that play a part in education, organisations and government departments are an important part of making schools better places. At a national level We already have a School Standards Delivery Division to help schools improve at all levels of the system. We want to build on this by doing things like looking at schools to see if they are doing everything they can do to improve and making ways that we can notice quickly if there is a problem with a school or local authority. At a regional level Local authorities play an important part. They work to make sure that schools get all the support they need but they also increasingly give schools control over how they spend money and make improvements. We want to make sure the local authorities and schools are working towards the same high level across Wales. Developing Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) People learn better when they are supported in groups. We want to set up PLCs to help teachers and professionals develop their skills in teaching literacy, numeracy and how to reduce the impact of deprivation on children s lives. Empowering and engaging parents/carers When parents, carers and the wider community get involved with school life learners do better. We want taking part in school life to be easier for everyone. We want more information available online, parents and carers to know what learners are being taught and tested on, as well as good examples of what happens in other schools. Strengthening inspection Going into a school and looking at how they are doing is really important. It helps make sure that they are always improving and keeping up-to-date with how they teach. Estyn plays a big part of this. We want to be able to step in earlier when we know a school is having problems and reduce the time that is given for local authorities and 6

7 Working together to meet our goals! Roles and responsibilities All levels of the education system have a role and a responsibility to make this plan work. We all need to work together. Thanks Thank you for reading this booklet. For more information you can read the full document on the Learning Wales website at Schools themselves must have a drive to be better and they may need to work with other schools to make sure this happens. Local authorities need to support schools, which sometimes means helping them to communicate with government or Estyn. Resources We have protected the money going into the education system in Wales and even made more money available for local authorities and schools up to We need to make sure that we get value for money. That means we need local authorities to look at issues like the number of school places in one area compared to another, changing schools systems if needed and other problems so we can be sure that schools are getting all the support they need and are using the resources well. 7 Crown copyright October 2012 WG16734

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