The Welsh government has published details of the institutions that are to take part in the Schools Challenge Cymru scheme aimed at driving up standards.
Welsh education minister Huw Lewis yesterday (May 1st) announced the names of 40 institutions that will form part of the initiative. It is hoped the scheme will improve outcomes for pupils through the sharing of information and expertise with high-performing establishments.
Schools Challenge Cymru advisors will be appointed to ensure the selected secondary schools receive support that is best suited to their needs. Funding of £20 million is being provided to the schools to help boost their performance.
Key goals of the initiative include developing leaders and supporting the continuing professional development of those in education jobs.
Schools were selected using a range of different performance data and information highlighting the particular challenges they face. These include the number of pupils receiving free school meals, the attainment of children from disadvantaged backgrounds and the institutions' scores in the Welsh government's banding system.
The Welsh government believes the attainment of pupils in these schools will improve at a rapid rate as a result of the challenge.
Similar schemes have been run in Manchester and London for almost ten years, and it is hoped the Welsh initiative will be able to build on these successes.
In addition, targeted support will be provided to participant schools' cluster primaries aimed at addressing challenges as soon as the opportunity to do so arises, improving the transition between stages of education.
Commenting on the scheme, the Welsh education minister said: "It makes full use of some of our finest practitioners and highest performing schools to form partnerships and to share expertise.
"The knowledge and expertise that is needed to improve already exists within the Welsh education system and we must exploit it. We must make the best practices available to all children and young people in Wales."
He added that the announcement constitutes a major step towards breaking the link between poverty and attainment and driving up standards of literacy and numeracy.
A full list of the institutions taking part in Schools Challenge Cymru is available on the Welsh government's website.
Posted by Alan Douglas