Renew and reform: supporting learners’ well-being and progression

Today I am publishing our Renew and Reform plan, setting out how we will target £150m additional investment in the 2021-22 financial year to support learners and practitioners as we manage our recovery from Covid.

 

The Renew and Reform plan brings together and builds on the successful interventions and initiatives deployed over the last year, including retaining and supporting more than 1,800 full-time equivalent staff recruited under the Recruit, Recover, and Raise Standards programme.

 

Providing additional capacity, capability, and targeted support for learners will continue to be a core part of our long-term approach to supporting learning, coupled with other initiatives to support learners and practitioners in the coming months and years.

 

We will provide personalised support for learning and well-being for all learners, and bespoke packages of support for those most affected by the disruptions of the pandemic. That includes supporting crucial early years development and helping post-16 learners to progress to the next steps of their journey, and providing the foundations that enable our most vulnerable and disadvantaged learners to achieve their potential.

 

This plan confirms our commitment to learner and practitioner well-being and mental health; supporting learners to make the progress they need; and addressing the educational impacts of inequality which have been highlighted by the pandemic. Strengthening the foundations of learning as we move forward to the next steps in our national mission.

 

The pandemic has brought into sharp focus just how important our schools, settings, colleges and universities are for our children and young people. Educational practitioners have risen heroically to the challenges, showing remarkable adaptability, commitment and resilience. I want to thank them for their dedication, innovation and swift response.

 

Learners too have had to adapt, learning and working in different ways and I absolutely want to commend them for their willingness to do so, however difficult that has sometimes been.

 

I am determined that the emphasis placed on well-being and flexibility in the education system over the last year is built upon and closely aligned with the introduction of the exciting new curriculum. The education system has shown remarkable resilience and flexibility, we must learn from that.

 

I have spoken to many teachers who have been using the principles of the new curriculum during the past year in supporting pupils and do not want to lose momentum at this crucial time.

 

I have been meeting and listening to the profession since becoming Minister for Education and the Welsh Language. While there is huge support for the reforms and appreciation of the flexibility given to schools and colleges during the pandemic, I know that there are also worries of further disruption and impacts on learners and practitioners, as well as concerns around the pressures schools, colleges, and other learning providers, especially in the secondary sector, are under.

 

Today’s plan is the first step, setting the framework and the funding available to enable us to work together with our partners and stakeholders to support learners and practitioners.

 

Later this term, we will also:

 

  • outline plans to create more space within the system for practitioners;
  • provide further clarity for schools and colleges on what the autumn term will look like;
  • set out how we will support roll-out of the Curriculum for Wales, including clarifying  expectations and taking into account the messages I have heard in my discussions with schools and the profession; and
  • publish our National Strategy for Educational Research and Enquiry – informed by high quality international evidence.

 

I would also like to thank our partners in education, including Unions, Local Authorities, Universities and the wider education system for working together with us, at times responding to events at breakneck speed. We will continue this collaborative approach to co-construction as we move forward to the next phase of renewal and reform.

 

The plan can be found here: https://gov.wales/renew-and-reform-supporting-learners-wellbeing-and-progression