Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, published the Welsh Government’s Renew and Reform plan for education today (Wednesday June 16).
The plan sets out how the Welsh Government will use £150 million in additional investment in 2021-22 to continue to support learners, teachers and staff at all levels to help the education system in Wales recover following the pandemic.
The plan aims to address four key challenges. They are:
- helping learners to develop a secure foundation for learning;
- supporting learners as they continue their progress;
- providing help to practitioners to support their well-being;
- continuing existing moves towards reform in education.
The plan is a continuation of the support provided by Welsh Government, which includes:
- £33m to support full-time learners aged between 16 and 19 who are starting A level or vocational courses at either a sixth form or FE college
- £24m to continue support and mentoring for learners through the Recruit, Recover and Raise Standards programme, retaining the 1800 full-time equivalent staff recruited in the 2020 to 2021 academic year
- £23.2m additional funding for free school meals during the school holidays, bringing funding for FSM for 2021 to 2022 to over £110m
- £15m for educational technology in schools through the Hwb EdTech programme, improve digital infrastructure at maintained schools
The Minister said:
I want to thank all staff in schools, colleges and settings, for their dedication and commitment.
It has been recognised that the Welsh Government acted swiftly during the pandemic to support learners. The plan published today sets out how we will continue to support the well-being and progression of learners across all settings; in particular those who are disadvantaged and vulnerable, and with a focus on early years and post-16 learners.
We are also ensuring the teaching profession have the support they need to do the job they’re best placed to do.
The Minister added:
The principles of the Curriculum for Wales underpin everything we do as we continue our recovery from the pandemic, including the Renew and Reform plan. The pandemic has shown the remarkable resilience and flexibility within the sector, and we must learn from that.
We will continue to work with teaching professionals and our wider education partners, to develop our response to the pandemic as we move towards curriculum reform.
The plan is guided by evidence and the experiences of those involved, led by a number of case studies, which assess the impact of the pandemic on education, with subjects covered including its impact on Welsh-medium education; blended and distance learning, and the wellbeing of professionals and pupils.