- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
Milford Haven School and Ysgol Bro Dinefwr will continue to benefit from the Welsh Government’s flagship school improvement scheme, education minister Huw Lewis has announced.
The west Wales secondary schools are two of 40 schools in Wales that receive extra money and support through the Schools Challenge Cymru programme, a multi-million pound programme to increase schools’ performance.
Answering questions in the Senedd this month (14 October), the education minister confirmed an additional £8 million for the scheme over the next two years. The Welsh Government has already committed £12 million, bringing the total budget to £20 million.
Labour AM Joyce Watson questioned Mr Lewis about the benefits to schools in mid and west Wales.
Mrs Watson said:
“I was really pleased to see in the draft budget that there is an extra £12 million for the Schools Challenge Cymru initiative.
“Could you tell me how that money will be spent? Is it to extend the duration of the scheme, to widen it to more schools, or to put extra resource into already-participating schools? Are you able to update Members on what improvements the scheme is delivering to schools in my area, such as Milford Haven School and Ysgol Bro Dinefwr?”
The minister, who visited Ysgol Bro Dinefwr in September and will be visiting Milford Haven School next month, said the money would be spent on the 40 already participating schools. He replied:
“The £12 million already committed and the £8 million to come over the next two years for Schools Challenge Cymru is not expenditure to admit extra schools. I need to make that clear.
“This £20 million package over two years, which was initially announced, is for the 40 participating schools, and is essentially there to ease the way for some of the extra work that we would expect schools participating in Schools Challenge Cymru to be engaged in. For instance, they may need to release teachers here and there for professional development, and so on. So, it is there to oil the wheels, if you like, of the schools challenge programme.”
“As for the two pathways to success schools that were mentioned, Milford Haven School and Ysgol Bro Dinefwr are benefitting from the innovative and exciting programme, which will, among other things, inject a level of that funding, alongside proven expertise, advice and guidance, to deliver a package of support that is tailored to meet each of those schools’ needs and the needs of their cluster primaries. I was lucky enough to visit Ysgol Bro Dinefwr back on 15 September to discuss the programme, and I will similarly be visiting Milford Haven School on 10 November.”
Schools have been chosen using a range of performance data and information that highlights the challenges they face in terms of their circumstances and stage of development. They have been also been chosen as it is believed they have the potential to deliver swift and positive improvements for learners.
Working with their Schools Challenge Cymru advisor, each Pathways to Success School will be given the opportunity to access proven expertise, to deliver a package of support that is individually tailored to meet each school’s needs and the needs of their learners. This will be backed by around £20 million of Welsh Government funding.
The programme will also provide targeted support to participant schools’ cluster primaries in order to address challenges at the earliest opportunity and improve transition between these key stages of education.