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Plans to improve standards for 'vulnerable and disadvantaged learners'

The Education Minister, Huw Lewis is expected to set out plans to improve the fortunes of some of Wales' most vulnerable and disadvantaged learners later today.

Credit: PA

A National Pupil Referral Unit conference will be held in Cardiff.

The Welsh Government plans to draw up a new framework for improving provision for vulnerable learners that focuses on six areas; leadership, accountability, resources, structure, well-being and outcomes.

Speaking ahead of the conference the Minister said:

Pupil Referral Units (PRU) can provide an opportunity for some of our most vulnerable young people to get back on track, both emotionally and educationally.

For many young people the PRU might be their last chance of formal learning so it is vital that we ensure the experience is both enriching and positive.

We know that provision in some PRUs delivers exactly that, but in others the experience is less positive and this is not acceptable. The evidence cries out for a fresh and strategic approach.

– Education Minister, Huw Lewis


Consultation on new safety code for school transport

Posed photograph simulating a child being bullied. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

A consultation's been launched on an improved Learner Travel Behaviour Code, including what the Welsh Government says are more robust anti-bullying measures on school transport.

The measures include:

  • More robust anti-bullying messages.
  • Better links with the Welsh Government anti-bullying agenda and school behaviour codes.
  • Encouraging a safe, comfortable and positive bus environment and to recommend that learners be allowed to eat and drink on buses.
  • Putting in place Travel Behaviour Contracts between learners, parents, local authorities and transport operators to reinforce the sense of shared responsibility for ensuring good behaviour on the home to school journey.
  • Using pupils from Years 11, 12 and 13 as bus monitors to supervise bus journeys.
  • Schools to consider rewards for learners who behave well on school transport.
  • A communications campaign to raise awareness of the Travel Behaviour Code amongst learners.

Enjoying a safe and comfortable journey to and from their place of learning is vital for all children and young people’s education and welfare.

This proposed code has been developed together with the Children’s Commissioner and children and young people from across Wales.

– Edwina Hart AM, Transport Minister


'Only 1 in 3' school-aged children eat fruit once a day

Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Youngsters still aren't eating enough fruit and vegetables.

That's according to a survey of 10,000 secondary school aged children around Wales which found only 1 in 3 eats fruit or vegetables every day.

The Welsh Government report also says not enough young people are doing recommended levels of physical activity every day.

But it's not all bad news. Key findings include:

  • A substantial majority of young people report being happy with their life and in good health
  • A substantial fall in the numbers of 15 to 16 year olds smoking and drinking compared to the 1990s
  • The lowest levels of cannabis use since 2002
  • An increase in regular tooth brushing, the proportions rising with age
  • The majority of young people report having good support networks, receiving emotional support from their family
  • The number of young people who now find it easier to talk to their father has risen significantly in a decade, rising from 55% to 67% for girls and 65% to 82% for boys
  • A fall in the number of young people reporting early sexual activity

These findings give us a useful snapshot of the health of young people in Wales. It’s reassuring that many young people are following advice on healthy lifestyles – advice that will stand them in good stead throughout their lives.

We have a wide range of measures in place to help children to be more active and get them hooked on sport for life, including free swimming, a £1.6m physical literacy programme for schools and the Healthy Schools scheme.

It’s vital that we all take responsibility for our own and our families’ lifestyle choices.”

– Dr Ruth Hussey, Chief Medical Officer for Wales
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