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Welsh government introduces school improvement strategy

26/02/2014 Joanna
The Welsh government has launched a new blueprint aimed at ensuring schools improve at a regional level.

Guidance on the 'national model for regional working' clarifies the lines of accountability between local authorities and Wales' regional education consortia. It is designed to ensure those in education jobs are aware of their responsibilities, reports Wales Online.

A four-point improvement cycle has been drawn up to to enable schools to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. Consortia “challenge advisers”, who will replace “system leaders”, will be able to step in to provide support where necessary.

The new framework is to be introduced on April 1st and will override strategies currently established in the four regional consortia. 

Under the new scheme, Wales' 22 local authorities will retain the statutory responsibility for schools. Councils are to ring-fence the £19 million earmarked for school improvement at regional consortia level and ensure money is allocated to schools in addition to guidance and support.

The document states: "The prime mission and purpose of regional consortia is to help those who educate our children and young people. So, in future, their non-negotiable job will be to support schools and local authorities in their efforts to: improve learner outcomes for all young people; ensure the delivery of high-quality teaching and learning; and support and empower school leaders to better lead their schools."

A new colour-coded system is being introduced to support schools in their self-evaluation assessments. Schools will be clustered annually into one of four groups under the system, which is due to launch later this year.

According to the document, annual self-evaluation will be based on benchmarking data which will enable schools to compare themselves against the best institutions and others within their group.

'Challenge advisers' are to work within the consortia to ensure the process operates with the necessary integrity. They are to be trained by the Welsh government and urgently deployed to support headteachers and governors.

A Welsh government spokesman said the new national framework will improve standards and raise performance levels in schools across the country.

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