A groundbreaking tripartite partnership between Cardiff Council, the Welsh Government and the Welsh Local Government Association has been created to establish a Secondary Achievement Improvement Programme to continue to improve standards of education in the city’s secondary schools.
A recent Estyn report noted that standards of achievement have improved and that elected members and education officers show strong leadership and consistent support for schools. However, the report also highlighted that further improvements were needed, particularly in the secondary phase.
To oversee these improvements, the Council has established an implementation board that will be chaired by the Council’s Chief Executive, Jon House, and include other senior officers as well as representatives from the Welsh Local Government Association, the Welsh Government Department for Education and Skills and headteachers.
Part of the action plan will focus specifically on this partnership initiative to drive-up standards in KS4 and the model could be used as a blueprint for school improvement not only across South East Wales but the rest of the country as well.
Initially, additional support will be provided to secondary schools where there is more challenge and improvement needed to ensure all pupils throughout the city are given the best chances to succeed. Tailored plans for individual schools will help them further develop strategies to raise aspirations, increase literacy and numeracy and improve attendance and behaviour.
Extra funding will be jointly provided by Cardiff Council and the Welsh Government in the first year to resource the programme which will begin this autumn. Future years of the programme will be funded via the Council and the South East Wales Consortium.
Executive Member for Education and Lifelong Learning Cllr Freda Salway said: “Education is a key priority for Cardiff which is why we are determined to ensure that where there is room for improvement that improvement shall be made.
“The establishment of this partnership shows the seriousness with which the Council takes raising standards as this not only increases the educational attainments of our pupils but their life chances as well.”
Leader of Cardiff Council, Cllr Rodney Berman, said: “I am pleased that we have established this groundbreaking partnership which I believe will act as a trailblazer for the rest of the Wales in driving up standards in our schools.
“It is imperative that we do all that we can to ensure that our pupils have the best possible chances to succeed as it is not only in our interest but in the wider interest of Wales that everyone in the education system achieves their full potential.
“By investing in this improvement programme now we will be reaping dividends for the future.”
Cardiff Conference of Secondary Head teachers (CCSH) said that “CCSH members value the additional resources which will be provided by this tripartite initiative to support headteachers and their schools in the continued desire and drive to further raise standards and better the life chances of each individual child.”
Education Minister Leighton Andrews said: “I have been open and honest when discussing the challenges which face education in Wales and have outlined the positive actions I want to see implemented to raise standards and performance across the board.
“Following Estyn’s Inspection of Cardiff it is encouraging that the Local Authority recognises the need for change and they are taking affirmative action to benefit our young people which we fully support.”
Cllr Peter Fox (Monmouthshire), WLGA Education Spokesperson said: “This is an excellent initiative and proves that Cardiff council is serious about raising standards and outcomes for children and young people. Local government in Wales has said that education is its number one priority and in this instance Cardiff is proving that it means to deliver on that promise.”