In a key note speech on Wednesday 25th October Welsh Liberal Democrat Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams, stressed that the link between universities and schools must go beyond teacher training.
Welsh Liberal Democrats have been consistent in promoting the civic role of educational institutions, including successfully challenging all universities in Wales to become living wage employers.
Part of the Welsh Liberal Democrat’s national mission in education is to improve standards in education is to challenge universities to recapture their civic mission by connecting campus, community and the country.
Kirsty Williams set out actions to enhance university-school links:
Universities to work directly with schools leadership development, financial management and attainment programmes
Local school governing bodies to see a significant increase in university senior managers and leaders on them
Schools to see more industry and undergraduate programmes to promote learner opportunity and student experience in key disciplines, building on success in languages and coding
In her speech, Kirsty said:
“The university as the link between the global and the local will be ever more in important as we meet the challenges of Brexit.
“Universities are global in their outlook, but they must be first and foremost being good stewards of their place and the people living there.
“This is how they will contribute to developing a confident, international and innovative Wales.”
The Welsh Liberal Democrat Cabinet Secretary for Education added:
“I would like to see Welsh universities pursuing ‘boundary spanning’ civic leadership.
“I want to see you working beyond the higher education sector and engaging with other key civic leaders at a national and community level.
“Universities should use their expertise, experience and resources to deliver social innovation and civic engagement, building future leadership capacity, and supporting community and educational organisations.
“Improving education is our national mission. Raising standards, reducing the attainment gap and deliver a system that enjoys public confidence and is a source of national pride.
“Our higher education sector must further contribute to this - going beyond preparing tomorrow’s teachers, important work though that is.”