OECD urges Welsh Government to continue schools reform programme

28 Feb 17

Wales must continue to reform its national curriculum and raise the standard of teaching to improve the quality of its school system, an OECD assessment has found.

The global policy forum analysed Welsh education reforms since 2014 in a new report, The Welsh Education Reform Journey, published today.

The OECD found that a commitment to teaching and learning in Wales’s schools was visible at all levels of the education system. Also, it applauded the government’s move away from piecemeal, short-term policies toward a long-term vision “characterised by a process of co-construction with key stakeholders”.

Many of these reforms are grounded in recommendations made by the policy forum in its previous assessment of the Welsh education system published in 2014.

However, Andreas Schleicher, director for education and skills at the OECD, said keeping up the momentum of renewal was key to reaping the benefits for Welsh citizens.

He said: “Sustaining this commitment, deepening investments in key policy areas and strengthening the implementation process will be central to realising the country’s ambitions for education and society over the long term.”

Schleicher launched the report today in Cardiff alongside Kirsty Williams, Wales’ cabinet secretary for education.

The Welsh government should focus on developing a high-quality teaching profession, make leadership a key driver of reform, and ensure equity and well-being in terms of education opportunities, the OECD stated.

To this end, the report recommended the formation of a National Academy of Educational Leadership. Meanwhile, accelerating the development of leadership standards and adopting a new assessment system would align evaluation and accountability with the updated curriculum.

The report also advised the Welsh Government to consider adopting a needs-based funding formula for schools, which would ensure a fair and effective allocation of school funding.

However, the OECD warned it was important to prevent various reform initiatives from fragmenting. To prevent this, the government should clarify how new policies relate to existing rules and how they apply to different stakeholders.

Responding to the report, Williams said it showed progress was being made, and stated the administration had a long term vision in place to keep improving.
“Our job is to continue our national mission of education reform focused on driving up standards and helping every learner in Wales, whatever their background, fulfil their potential,” she added.

“As the OECD recommends, our focus must be on making sure we continue to properly implement our vision for reform. I am committed to raising standards, reducing the attainment gap and delivering an education system that is a source of national pride and confidence.”

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