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Schools Challenge Cymru launched

12/02/2014 Joanna
First minister of Wales Carwyn Jones and education and skills minister Huw Lewis have launched an initiative which is set to provide extra money to help some of the country's poorest-performing schools.

Up to 40 underperforming secondary schools will benefit from the investment, which is being delivered as part of the Schools Challenge Cymru initiative. It will provide specifically-designed support to help schools make improvements in attainment.

Education minister Huw Lewis said the scheme is a challenge for a variety of people involved in education jobs, from school leaders to teachers and learners, to improve standards.

The scheme will focus on continuing professional development in order to raise standards of learning and teaching. It aims to develop leaders for the present and the future.

Mr Lewis said the initiative will build on findings from schools in Manchester and London but that its focus will be specific to Wales.

Some of the best schools in Wales will also be involved in the challenge, sharing their expertise and leadership to support teachers to make the necessary improvements. 

The initiative is set to begin in September 2014 and schools will be monitored on a regular basis to ensure standards continue to improve. 

Schools Challenge Cymru will be launched at Dyffryn School in Neath Port Talbot, a school from a deprived area in Wales which is performing particularly well - well above the national average on Free School Meal achievement.

The education minister said more schools need to be like Dyffryn School, which surpasses expectations despite its location in a challenging area.

First minister Carwyn Jones said schools which are underperforming need to be the focus of attempts to boost attainment if overall standards are to be improved.

"The significant funding we've announced today is going to make a huge difference to those schools chosen to take on Schools Challenge Cymru," he commented.

"It's going to be a real game changer, providing a generous package of tailored support to help them realise their potential."

Posted by Tim ColmanADNFCR-2164-ID-801692753-ADNFCR
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