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Progress of Welsh educational reforms praised by OECD

03/03/2017 Joanna

The progress being made to reform the Welsh education system has been praised by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

A new report entitled The Welsh Education Reform Journey has been launched by the OECD, which conducted the analysis following an invitation last November by education secretary Kirsty Williams to visit Wales to examine the work underway on education reform.

Looking at the reforms adopted since 2014, the OECD highlighted a shift in the approach to school improvement away from a piecemeal and short-term policy orientation to one with a long-term vision involving key stakeholders.

As such, a commitment to improving teaching and learning standards in Welsh schools has been instilled that is visible at all levels of the education system, the organisation said.

Several recommendations were made about how Wales can maintain this positive momentum, noting that the focus needs to remain on developing a high-quality teaching profession, making leadership a key driver of education reform, ensuring equity in learning opportunities and student wellbeing, and moving towards a new system of assessment
This includes potentially moving towards a national needs-based school funding formula, further strengthening school improvement infrastructure and ensuring coherence across the various reform initiatives to prevent fragmentation.

Andreas Schleicher, OECD director for education and skills, said: "Sustaining this commitment, deepening investments in key policy areas and strengthening the implementation process will be central to realising the country's ambitions for education and society over the long term."

Ms Williams welcomed the findings of the report, noting that many of its recommendations - including the creation of a new national academy for leadership, improvements to initial teacher education and the introduction of new professional standards and a national approach to professional learning - are already being implemented.

She said: "Our job is to continue our national mission of education reform focused on driving up standards and helping every learner in Wales, whatever their background, fulfil their potential."

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