Posted: Sun 2nd Jun 2024

Education pilot to address poverty impact in Wales continues

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

The Attainment Champions pilot, a programme aimed at mitigating the impact of poverty on learners’ educational attainment, is set to enter its second phase. Following a successful initial phase, the initiative will continue to enhance standards in Welsh schools.

The pilot phase demonstrated that collaborative working, mentoring partner schools, and sharing innovative practices positively impacted learners facing disadvantage. Schools involved in the pilot reported improvements in high-quality leadership, teaching and learning development, and increased confidence within leadership teams. These strategies have been effective in addressing the impact of poverty on attainment.

Starting in September, the second phase will see additional partner schools recruited. Each Attainment Champion will be paired with more partner schools, providing greater opportunities for learning and sharing best practices.

Attainment Champions were chosen based on their success in tackling the impact of poverty on educational attainment in their schools. They provide peer-to-peer support to schools and help inform Welsh Government policy on educational attainment. The programme’s expansion will also support the School Improvement Partnership Programme, which aims to improve school standards through peer networks and local collaboration.

Earlier this month, the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Lynne Neagle, met with the Attainment Champions to hear how the programme has been improving educational attainment, what approaches have been most effective, and to identify the main barriers to improvement.

“Sustained improvements in educational attainment are a top priority for the Welsh Government, and this is an excellent example of our commitment to tackling the impact of poverty on educational attainment,” said Neagle. “By bringing together leaders and schools across Wales, we can collectively work in partnership to tackle the impact of poverty on our young people and improve outcomes for all children and young people in Wales.

“We are focused on continuous improvement in our schools. Attainment Champions, alongside a focus on the vital skills of literacy and numeracy, and the curriculum for Wales, will help raise standards and aspirations. I want to thank all our Champions for the contributions they have made so far, and I very much look forward to working together over the next year to build on the positive findings from the pilot programme.”

Innes Robinson, an Attainment Champion and Executive Head of Pencoedtre and Whitmore, added, “It was an invaluable opportunity to share evidence-based practice that has the potential to reduce the attainment gap. Whitmore High School and Ysgol Bryn Alyn worked closely to implement a direct teaching approach and mixed-ability teaching that has proven to have a positive effect on closing the gap. Both schools look forward to the opportunity to extend the programme.”


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