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Welsh Govt: 'Momentum for improvement' in education

The Welsh Government has welcomed Estyn's annual report as recognition of a "new momentum for improvement" in the education system here.

It points to last year's GCSE results, when the gap with England narrowed, to proof of progress, but says there is no complacency over moving forward further.

We particularly welcome Estyn’s recognition of the new momentum for improvement that exists within the Welsh education system. We must now work together to build on that momentum and focus on key issues such as leadership which will ensure the improvements we want to see.

Building an excellent education system is an ambition shared by everyone in the sector. Last year’s GCSE results show we are starting to see real and tangible progress but we are in no way complacent and recognise that we must continue to work hard and focus on ensuring sustained improvement throughout the sector.

We will now consider the report in detail and respond formally in Plenary at the end of February.

– Welsh Government spokesperson


Reading aloud is number one concern for Welsh schoolchildren

A survey has found reading aloud in class is the number one concern for 7-13-year-olds in Wales.

Almost four in 10 schoolchildren said it was their biggest worry, with the fear of being laughed at the key reason.

More than a quarter said they would prefer to read on their own in the classroom instead.

Just 16% said they would volunteer to read aloud in class. Credit: PA

When asked about maths, however, almost half said they enjoyed doing classwork, with a third saying they always put their hand up to answer a question.

The survey is part of the Welsh Government's 'Education Begins At Home' campaign to show parents how to help their children do better in school.

Launching today, a series of community roadshows are being held to offer hints and tips on how families can learn together in a way that's quick, easy and fun.

It comes at a time when the schools watchdog Estyn highlighted problems with literacy in schools, saying there is still much to be done to improve standards

Confidence issues around maths and reading out loud in class is something we often come across. Any campaign that helps parents get more actively involved in practising reading and numbers with their children at home is welcomed by us. Having children of my own, I have seen firsthand the difference it makes when the whole family gets involved in learning together.

– Cerith Lewis, Assistant Head Blackwood Comprehensive School

Visit the Education Begins at Home campaign page for more information on the road shows coming to your area.

Welsh Government: 'Still much to do' to improve literacy

The Welsh Government says a report by the education watchdog shows there's "still much to do" in the way of improving literacy in secondary schools.

The Welsh Government says there's still much to do to improve literacy skills in schools Credit: PA

It comes after Estyn found many schools face challenges in improving reading and writing among 11 to 15-year-olds.

The Welsh Government made the development of literacy skills a key priority in 2013 after a previous Estyn report found many pupils were starting secondary school without basic literacy and numeracy skills.

It introduced a framework in 2012 to get both key areas taught in other subjects across the curriculum.

Developing the literacy skills of our young people remains a critical issue for Welsh education and a key government priority. This second report from Estyn does identify progress in many areas. It shows improved planning and whole school approaches to marking, and demonstrates that standards in English and Welsh continue to improve. We very much welcome this. However the report is also a timely reminder that there is still much to do.

We should bear in mind that it is still early days in the implementation of key policies such as the Literacy and Numeracy Framework (LNF) and that schools only started assessing learner progress against the LNF in September. As clearly set out in the Literacy and Numeracy Framework, the development of literacy needs to be addressed across all subject areas within schools and the Minister is continuing to call on schools to adopt and embed whole-school approaches to literacy.

– Welsh Government spokesperson


Work starts on multi-million pound revamp of St Fagans museum

The revamp will include a new visitor experience Credit: Kier Construction

Work is to start on a multi-million pound revamp of St Fagans National History Museum.

It's thanks to one of the largest grants ever awarded by the Heritage Lottery fund in Wales.

£11.5 million is being invested into the redevelopment of the site on the outskirts of Cardiff.

St Fagans is one of Wales' most popular tourist attractions in Wales Credit: Kier Construction

Part of the revamp will include a new visitor experience integrating national collections of archaeology and social history.

The project is also being supported by the Welsh Government which has given £6 million of funding support.

The redevelopment will create over a 1000 volunteering placements and offer educational visits for schools.

St Fagans was established as the first open-air museum in 1948 and is currently one of Wales' most popular tourist attractions with over 600,000 visitors every year.

Do you know what your child is looking at online? NSPCC warns parents should be more aware

The NSPCC in Wales is urging parents of 8 to 12 year olds to be more aware of what sites their children click onto when they are online.

A panel of more than 500 parents from the website Mumsnet reviewed 48 websites and said all those aimed at adults and teenagers were too easy for children under 13 to sign-up to.

Credit: PA

Today it launched its 'Net Aware' campaign to get families talking about socialising safely online.

"This Christmas many children will have been given a smart phone, a tablet computer, or a games console" said Des Mannion, from the charity.

"It's the perfect opportunity for parents to have conversations with their children about who they are talking to and what they share when they socialise online."

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