Shaping Educational Change in Wales; Yr Athrofa: The Institute of Education

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), June 16, 2016 | Go to article overview

Shaping Educational Change in Wales; Yr Athrofa: The Institute of Education


THE University of Wales Trinity Saint David has held a high-profile Education Conference at Cardiff 's City Hall attended by experts from a variety of education sectors in Wales, that also marked the launch of the university's Yr Athrofa: Institute of Education.

The conference, entitled, Securing the Future: Building a Self-improving System provided the education community with an opportunity to understand the priorities that will inform the work of the newly-elected administration; to take stock of the progress the sector has made in building a self-improving system; and to explore the challenges these priorities will set for leaders of education in the coming years. During the event, Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, Vice-Chancellor, introduced the Wales Education Commission, established to bring together distinguished individuals who are considered leading thinkers with a record of outstanding success in their own fields of education.

He said: "I consider the establishment of the Wales Education Commission as a key development in the ongoing reform of our education system. The wealth of international expertise brought to Wales allows us to reflect critically, in an innovative manner, what the appropriate developments are for our education system.

"As a nation we need to take ownership of such changes. The quality of our education system and the need to secure inclusive opportunities for young people in Wales are, in my view, above the politics of political parties. That is why universities have a role to play. I am proud of the fact that UWTSD has such a longstanding tradition in this area. We now need to build a future where excellence, high-quality professional opportunities and research come together to deliver for Wales.

"I am delighted by the support provided by this distinguished group of individuals; each of whom has gained immense respect for the contribution that they have made to improving education through their own work. In bringing these key individuals together the University of Wales Trinity Saint David is demonstrating its pledge to deliver a quality system for Wales. We should not underestimate the strategic importance of establishing such a commission where international scholars and educators can work with schools and the teaching profession to further our distinctive offer."

Secretary to the Education Commission and Director of Yr Athrofa, Professor Dylan E Jones echoed the belief in its impact. "The opportunity to learn from such a talented and successful group of educationalists is invaluable. We look forward to challenging and thoughtprovoking debates that will have an impact on the delivery of education and opportunities for young people throughout Wales," he said.

During the event, Steve Davies, Director of Education for the Welsh Government gave the key note address - Securing the Future - and also launched Yr Athrofa: Institute of Education.

The conference's title came from the Welsh Government's Qualified for Life: An education improvement plan - a document that clearly affirms the importance and the impact of the education sector in Wales stating: 'Education changes lives, it provides opportunity, it enables individuals to shape their futures, it builds stronger, more tolerant and cohesive societies, it is the foundation of a strong economy. In short, Education matters.' One of the aspects the Government's Qualified for Life policy document focuses on is ensuring that education leaders at every level work together in a self-improving system, providing mutual support and challenge to raise standards in all schools. The event brought together individuals from a variety of education sectors in Wales to discuss this system, including head teachers and governors, local authority leaders, senior leaders from Regional Consortia, researchers and academics.

The four sessions of the conference focused on the Welsh Government's priorities for Education from 2016 to 2021 including system leadership and professional learning; building global leadership networks, and international testing and education policy - how PISA contributes to the development of education policy and strategy. …

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