Wefan Gymraeg

Education professionals must work together to tackle poverty and raise attainment : Aled Roberts AM

Commenting on today's Estyn report on the importance of tackling poverty to improve educational attainment , Aled Roberts, Welsh Liberal Democrats Shadow Education Minister, said:

"This latest report underlines the need for schools, consortia and local authorities to start working together as a matter of course to make sure that the very best schools are always sharing their excellent working practices with others.

"It is heartening to see that the most recent data shows a narrowing in the gap between learners eligible for free school meals and those who aren't, and this data supports the findings of the survey we undertook in the summer which showed how students from poorer backgrounds are benefiting from this important Welsh Liberal Democrat policy.

"I am delighted that we have made that policy a reality in the form of a Pupil Deprivation Grant, however it is crucial that the money available to the schools is used to gain the very best results for disadvantaged pupils.

"I am pleased to see that the one of the twelve recommendations in the report is that schools should "use systems to track pupils' progress in order to evaluate initiatives that seek to improve wellbeing and standards".

"This is something I have called for on many occasions, most recently in the Siambr on 27th November during a debate on the Pupil Deprivation Grant, when we tabled an amendment calling on the Welsh Government to introduce an individual pupil monitoring programme to measure pupils' progress, allowing schools to target efforts at those students who are not meeting their potential.

"The Education Minister must now make sure that the more co-ordinated system which Estyn recommends is properly implemented and monitored in the whole of Wales. After years of Wales languishing at the bottom of national league tables and children's life-chances being hampered, anything else is simply unacceptable."

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