£29million to find 900 extra staff
The Welsh Government will provide an additional £29 million to schools to boost support for learners at crucial stages in their education from September.
The equivalent of 600 extra teachers and 300 teaching assistants will be recruited throughout the next school year, targeting extra support at Years 11, 12 and 13, as well as disadvantaged and vulnerable learners of all ages.
This will support learners taking their A level and GCSEs in 2021 and those known to have been affected most while many schools have been closed since March.
Professional learning resources will be provided to support the new and existing teachers, in preparation for September. Staff will be recruited on a one-year fixed term contract and are expected to move into educational roles in the following school year.
The support package, provided at a school level, could include extra coaching support, personalised learning programmes and additional time and resources for exam year pupils. A range of teaching approaches will be relevant, including blended learning.
Since most schools closed to pupils in March, the Welsh Government has targeted support to ensure continuity of learning, including providing 10,000 digital learning devices, ensuring eligible children continue to receive free school meals and increasing mental and emotional health and wellbeing support.
The Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, will host the Welsh Government’s daily press conference at 12:30 today, where she will announce plans for schools in September.
Kirsty Williams said: “Our education family in Wales has met the challenge of the pandemic together, ensuring that our young people are supported with their well-being and learning.
“I now want to ensure schools and pupils have the support they need by recruiting extra staff, to support the recovery phase and continue to raise standards as part of our national mission of education reform.
“We must never lower our expectations for any of our young people, no matter their background. That is why thousands and thousands more learners in Wales now enter and gain a science GCSE, it is why we now outperform other nations for A Level results, and it is why thousands more are studying and succeeding at higher levels.
“I know that teachers and parents across the country share my determination not to lose that momentum. This extra investment and targeted support will ensure that the impact of time away from school over recent months is minimised.
“This is not a short-term fix. I am guaranteeing this money, extra staff and support for the whole of next year.
“Alongside the new curriculum, we are moving purposefully into a new era for education. One where each learner benefits from a broad and balanced education.
“Together, we will continue to raise standards for all, reduce the attainment gap and ensure we have a system that is a source of pride and public confidence.”
Rob Kelsall, National Secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “We welcome Welsh Government’s announcement that it will provide an additional £29 million to schools to boost support for learners at crucial stages in their education from September. It is vital that we continue to invest in the next generation if we are to repair the damage the pandemic has done to the education of our children and young people.”