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Education Minister says new PISA target not less ambitious

The Welsh Government has dropped next year's target for Wales to be in the top 20 of international education league tables. The so-called PISA tests compare pupils' skills in reading, maths and science. Wales is outside the top 30 and behind the rest of the UK in all three. The Education Minister says that instead, he wants to see Wales reach average PISA scores by 2021.


Multimillion pound scheme will give 'powerful message'

A new £300m plan to boost Cardiff as a centre for job growth and wealth creation will give "a powerful message to send to the international community" according to the university's vice-chancellor.

Working with the Welsh and UK governments, local authorities such as Cardiff Council, the NHS in Wales, business partners and civic society, Cardiff Innovation System can establish the University, the City and Wales as international leaders in innovation.

Promoting Wales as a capital for job and wealth creation, a source of highly skilled-graduates and a thriving centre for innovation and commercialisation, is a powerful message to send to the international community.

– Professor Colin Riordan, Cardiff University vice-chancellor

Campus scheme designed to drive economic prosperity

Plans have been unveiled for a new £300m campus and research park Credit: Cardiff University

Cardiff University has unveiled plans for a £300m campus and social science research park.

It's all part of aims to drive an "innovation-led growth that will boost the Welsh economy".

An ambitious vision is being announced by Cardiff University’s vice-chancellor.

Professor Colin Riordan, wants the university to be internationally recognised for future prosperity, health and growth in Wales and beyond.

Five-year vision for Welsh education outlined

The Welsh Government has today set out its vision for education for 3 to 19-year-olds from 2015 to 2020.

The 'Qualified for Life' plan aims to develop a strong workforce, an engaging curriculum, internationally respected qualifications, and education leaders working together to improve standards.

The plan contains few new announcements, but rather ties together existing policies, such as the creation of new GCSEs, changes to A-levels and a stronger emphasis on the Welsh Baccalaureate.

The Welsh Government has changed its target for the Pisa rankings - and will introduce an annual 'Wales Education Report Card' from 2015.

Underpinning all of this is the simple aim that every child and young person should benefit from excellent teaching and learning. Today's document sets out where we want to be by 2020 and how we will ensure we get there.

It is a must read for everyone in the sector and will help to realise our ambition of an education system that is the best it can be, and among the best in the world.

– Huw Lewis AM, Education Minister


Meeting to be held over proposed closures of eleven Rhondda Cynon Taf schools

Parents have taken to social media to express their anger over plans for Rhondda Cynon Taf council to close 11 of its schools.

Under the new plans, children from ages 3 to 16 will be taught at the same school. Credit: ITV Wales News

The proposals are to be discussed at a council cabinet meeting later today.

Councillors are expected to discuss the possibility of replacing the closed schools with 'middle schools' which will teach children from ages 3 to 16.

The local authority says the plans will aim to raise standards and offer pupils 21st century school facilities.

But some parents are concerned about having children of different ages taught at the same school.

The plans come after the local authority announced it's to make a third round of cuts to its services.

Nursery education, street cleaning and town events could all face being axed as the councils looks to make up a £30 million funding gap.

Read More: Rhondda Cynon Taf Council announces plans for schools shake up

Welsh Government expected to downgrade Pisa target

The Welsh Government is today expected to downgrade its target for Wales to be in the top 20 of international education league tables by next year.

The so-called Pisa tests compare the performance of 15-year-old pupils around the world in key subjects.

When they were last taken in December 2012, Wales ranked 43rd out of 68 countries for maths, 41st for reading and 36th for science.

The Pisa tests compare the performance of 15-year-olds around the world in key subjects. Credit: PA

Those rankings are all lower than the previous occasion in 2009, and behind both the rest of the UK and the Pisa average.

Former Education Minister Leighton Andrews pledged to reach the top 20 positions when the tests are next taken in December 2015.

His successor Huw Lewis has also stuck by the target, despite slips in performance.

Mr Lewis is today due to set out the Welsh Government's plan to improve the education system over the next five years.

The 'Qualified for Life' plan will focus on building a strong workforce, an engaging curriculum, respected qualifications and effective collaboration.

Reading can 'unlock the door to lifelong creativity'

Reading can help lead to creativity, employment and an enjoyment of learning according to the National Union of Headteachers. It comes as a scheme to improve reading standards of 11-year-olds in Wales launches.

Reading well unlocks the door to lifelong creativity, employment and enjoyment of learning. Ten minutes a day is not much to spare a very young child but schools realise that there is much to do in building confidence and commitment in their wider communities. This campaign offers an opportunity to mobilise support for children who most need it and a win for them would be a win for Wales.

– Dr Chris Howard, Acting Director, National Association of Headteachers Cymru (NAHT)
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