Summit to Celebrate the Work OFWALEs' Dedicated Educators; Education Experts Gather in Cardiff Next Week for the First Education Wales Summit to Celebrate Educators' Achievements, Reaffirm Ambitions and Inspire Change. Here Ty Goddard of the Education Foundation Looks Ahead to the Summit

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), May 11, 2017 | Go to article overview

Summit to Celebrate the Work OFWALEs' Dedicated Educators; Education Experts Gather in Cardiff Next Week for the First Education Wales Summit to Celebrate Educators' Achievements, Reaffirm Ambitions and Inspire Change. Here Ty Goddard of the Education Foundation Looks Ahead to the Summit


Education is good for Wales. In fact, it's good for you and your country.

I was recently a guest at a Central South Consortium conference at Cardiff City FC, where in the words of one leader, there was a real sense of "heads up" and renewed confidence.

Another said that although reform had often felt like continual waves on the shore, there were real reasons to celebrate education in Wales.

There was a palpable sense of progress, reflection and focus on practice - the craft of the classroom. And it's in relation to this "craft" that the evidence on school improvement is clear - it is the quality of teaching that matters above all other factors.

Meilyr Rowlands, Chief Inspector of Education and Training in Wales, said this in the Estyn 2015-16 report: "Progress with fundamentals such as basic literacy and numeracy, and behaviour and attendance, that learners need to be 'ready to learn' generally continues, but variability within and between providers remains a prominent feature of our education system.

"In all sectors, there are good and excellent providers, including in relatively deprived areas, but the gap between providers that are doing well and those that are not is still too wide."

And it is this variability between schools - or indeed within a school - that presents a big challenge.

No education system can afford to be complacent or lack a focus on standards. This sharper focus on school standards continues with School Challenge Cymru.

It is obvious too that we need to develop and support teachers and leaders, so they can they properly support and inspire our children and young people.

But what of parents? Are schools sometimes too ambivalent or assume too much when it comes to properly involving families? Do we always talk as educators in a way that involves, or do we slip back into a language of "us" versus "them"? To truly build an education nation, changes across education need to be explained, understood and supported across our community. It was great to see that Pen y Dre High School in Merthyr Tydfil was among the winners for parent and community engagement at last week's Teaching Awards. Would it be possible to bottle the inspiration from across the nominees and winners at those awards? There's so much for Wales to be proud of across the education system.

As the school says on their website, "education begins at home". But, as a parent, I know it's not always easy and often we all need advice on what's best to do. …

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Summit to Celebrate the Work OFWALEs' Dedicated Educators; Education Experts Gather in Cardiff Next Week for the First Education Wales Summit to Celebrate Educators' Achievements, Reaffirm Ambitions and Inspire Change. Here Ty Goddard of the Education Foundation Looks Ahead to the Summit
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