Welsh education secretary Huw Lewis has welcomed the publication of a new report into the country's education system.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) was asked to conduct an analysis of Welsh education in 2012. Wales: An OECD Perspective sets out an appraisal of the current strengths and weaknesses and makes recommendations for improvements.
According to the report, Wales needs to build on its strengths in order to develop "a high-performing education system characterised by both quality and equity".
The government's objectives - to reduce the impact of deprivation on attainment and to improve students' literacy and numeracy - are said to reflect this aim.
Schools in Wales offer "positive" learning environments, with classrooms that are conducive to learning and good relations between teachers and pupils.
There is also said to be strong support among those in teaching jobs and the general public for the reforms to the system currently taking place.
However, the report does say the country faces some challenges if it is to realise its goal of improving standards.
Recruitment, professional development and career progression policies for education staff should be improved, it says.
Assessment and evaluation arrangements also need to be made more coherent and there should be a balance between accountability and improvement.
Perhaps most significantly, the OECD says Wales is in need of a "long-term vision" for reform and a clear implementation strategy.
Several concrete policy proposals, many of which are aimed at teachers, are advanced to ensure these challenges can be surmounted.
The government should look to raise the status of the profession and commit to initial teacher training, as attracting and developing "high-quality human capital" is essential to achieving excellence.
Continuing professional development at all stages of teachers' careers also needs to be ensured by working with schools and school improvement services.
The education secretary said: "I take on board the recommendations which call for improvements to teacher training and continuing professional development.
"I agree with the need for stronger school to school collaboration, improved school leadership and raising the esteem in which our teachers are held. These are central to our school improvement agenda."
Posted by Theo Foulds