The Welsh education system must be structured in a way that will deliver sustained improvement, it has been claimed.
Education minister Leighton Andrews said that although change is never easy, it is imperative if standards are to improve across the country.
Addressing the Institute of Welsh Affairs in Cardiff, Mr Andrews said there has been an "unacceptable" level of underperformance across the country's schools.
"I have been given assurances by all 22 leaders that education was their number one priority and that a radical overhaul is needed to address the systemic failure in education. The evidence all points to regional partnership working as the answer," he commented.
"As far as I'm concerned, there is no opting out of the regional working agenda. I expect this to be in place in September 2012. We can achieve improvement when we commit ourselves to working together."
Mr Andrews argued that schools require specialist support on top of the assistance they receive from local authorities.
He noted that teachers will have a crucial role to play in driving improvements and should be properly supported in their work.
Mr Andrews added that parents also have an important part to play and should be demanding the best for their children.
"We must have a culture of ambition, a culture of great expectations. Change is never easy, but it is imperative. We have no time to waste," he continued.
Speaking earlier this year, Mr Andrews said there is no excuse for poor performance in Welsh schools.
He claimed that education must be at the heart of modern Welsh culture, despite the fact that changes "will take time".
"We speak a lot about the rights of children and young people in the National Assembly for Wales. Children and young people have a right to expect high-quality teaching and that their schools are delivering high standards," Mr Andrews added.
Posted by Katy Kearns