From education to employment

Help for learners to take their next steps as Wales moves forward

Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language

@Jeremy_Miles, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language (@wgmin_education), published the Welsh Government’s Renew and Reform plan for education today (Wednesday, June 16).

The plan sets out how the Welsh Government will use £150m in additional investment in 2021-22 to continue to support learners, teachers and staff at all levels to help the education system in Wales recover following the pandemic. 

The plan aims to address four key challenges. They are:

  1. helping learners to develop a secure foundation for learning;
  2. supporting learners as they continue their progress;
  3. providing help to practitioners to support their well-being;
  4. continuing existing moves towards reform in education.

The plans is a continuation of the support provided by Welsh Government, which includes:

  • £33m to support full-time learners aged between 16 and 19 who are starting A level or vocational courses at either a sixth form or FE college
  • £24m to continue support and mentoring for learners through the Recruit, Recover and Raise Standards programme, retaining the 1800 full-time equivalent staff recruited in the 2020 to 2021 academic year;
  • £23.2m additional funding for free school meals during the school holidays, bringing funding for FSM for 2021 to 2022 to over £110m
  • £15m for educational technology in schools through the Hwb EdTech programme, improve digital infrastructure at maintained schools

The Minister said: “I want to thank all staff in schools, colleges and settings, for their dedication and commitment. 

 “It has been recognised that the Welsh Government acted swiftly during the pandemic to support learners. The plan published today sets out how we will continue to support the well-being and progression of learners across all settings; in particular those who are disadvantaged and vulnerable, and with a focus on early years and post-16 learners.

“We are also ensuring the teaching profession have the support they need to do the job they’re best placed to do.”

The Minister added; “The principles of the Curriculum for Wales underpin everything we do as we continue our recovery from the pandemic, including the Renew and Reform plan. The pandemic has shown the remarkable resilience and flexibility within the sector, and we must learn from that. 

“We will continue to work with teaching professionals and our wider education partners, to develop our response to the pandemic as we move towards curriculum reform.”

The plan is guided by evidence and the experiences of those involved, led by a number of case studies, which assess the impact of the pandemic on education, with subjects covered including its impact on Welsh-medium education; blended and distance learning, and the wellbeing of professionals and pupils.

Case Studies – Wellbeing Roles Supported through Recruit, Recover and Raise Standards (RRRS) funding:

Jenny Esslemont, Physics tutor – Llanidloes High School, Powys

Before starting her new role, trained teacher Jenny Esslemont was an out of work single parent raising two young children.

She was approached by Llanidloes High School following the school’s receipt of RRRS funding, which allowed them to take Miss Esslemont on as one-to-one physics tutor – with her starting in the role in September 2020.

She has since been appointed to a full-time physics teaching role at the school, and will start in the classroom in September this year.

Miss Esslemont said: “It was really good timing that I came to this role during the pandemic – it was particularly difficult for me, as a trained teacher, not having that connection with the outside world and just surviving day-to-day with two young children.

“I thought the pandemic had put a hold on my job prospects, but getting the role when I did was amazing – it meant I was doing something that was worthwhile.”

Working as a virtual teacher meant she and pupils had to take on a whole new way of working – but she also found it provided a useful way to build up one-on-one connections with pupils, which allowed her to find out what they needed and what was the best way of teaching them.

“We’ve kept things really informal, and I’ve been able to find out what they need individually and teach them on an individual basis – they all have different skills and attributes and I’ll be able to tailor my tutoring to how each student learns best.”

She added this was something she was keen to continue once she starts in her new role at the start of the next school year.

“I’ve had the benefit of learning about each of them individually, so when it comes to me teaching them collectively, I’ll now straight away what it is each of them needs to succeed.”

Mollie Vale, Teaching Assistant – Ysgol Hafan y Môr, Tenby, Pembrokeshire

Mrs Vale began working at Ysgol Hafan y Môr at the start of the 2020 – 21 school year, and now works at the school as a teaching assistant providing wellbeing support to 31 Year 5 and 6 pupils through creative and artistic activities.

With her role funded via the RRRS funding, she provides support to children at the school one day a week.

A former care provider, Mrs Vale said she took on the role because she knew with her skills in art, she would be able to help children through the “difficult time” of the pandemic.

She added: “As the children returned to school, I wanted to make it as exciting as possible for them, and to make them feel as though they were having fun.

“Personally, I think they have done really well – they’re a lot more positive than might be expected.”

As part of the wellbeing support provided to pupils, Mrs Vale worked with the children to create a ‘Cornel Cwtch’ in the school – a sanctuary place where pupils can spend time if they feel overwhelmed or have any difficulties.

“We’ve worked on the Cornel Cwtch, and it’s really nice that they’ve been able to create that and put their feelings into it. If they’re struggling with something, it’s a little sanctuary, and that’s had a really good impact on their resilience.

“Normally there may be something they don’t initially want to discuss, but they can go in there and after a few times, they’ll want to open up.”

Archie Thomas and Bex Davis, Learning Coaches – Haverfordwest High VC School, Haverfordwest

Archie Thomas and Bex Davies began their work as learning coaches at Haverfordwest High VC School in November 2020, providing support to pupils in years 11, 12 and 13 as they either moved towards, or continued, their Post-16 education.

They helped to guide pupils who may have found themselves struggling during the pandemic by working with them directly, and providing the support or engagement they needed.

Bex Davis said: “We identified students who may have been finding things difficult. It may have been due to them not having the right equipment, or feeling they needed someone to speak to directly about their work – we could help them get through it by starting with their most recent work, and then working backwards.

“As we got to know students more and more, we were able to help prepare things for them, and they now look forward to coming in – they like the idea that they will be helped immediately. It helped to develop their wellbeing, and it was encouraging to them that they were being seen and heard.”

Archie Thomas said: “The role has continued to change, both going into lockdown and coming out of it, and we’ve been involved in going in to classrooms to provide support directly when students have felt as though they’ve been struggling – either with one-to-one, or two-on-one meetings.

“And every evening, we’ve had two or three students working with us, on any subject where they feel they need support, with others coming in on their break times.

“They know that if they are struggling, they will always be able to come up and speak to us.”

Recent surveys of parents and learners at the school have seen high praise for the learning coaches, with one parent noting:

This service proved valuable to motivate our son. It helped give him focus and the learning coaches also helped talk him through some uncertainties about life after school. An excellent service which I hope is continued in school.

Help i ddysgwyr gymryd eu camau nesaf wrth i Gymru symud ymlaen

Cyhoeddodd Jeremy Miles, Gweinidog y Gymraeg ac Addysg, gynllun Adnewyddu a Diwygio Llywodraeth Cymru ar gyfer addysg heddiw (dydd Mercher, 16 Mehefin).

Mae’r cynllun yn nodi sut y bydd Llywodraeth Cymru yn defnyddio £150m o fuddsoddiad ychwanegol yn 2021-22 i barhau i gefnogi dysgwyr, athrawon a staff ar bob lefel i helpu i adfer y system addysg yng Nghymru yn dilyn y pandemig. 

Mae’r cynllun yn ceisio mynd i’r afael â phedair her allweddol, sef:

  • helpu dysgwyr i ddatblygu sylfaen gadarn ar gyfer dysgu
  • cynorthwyo dysgwyr i barhau i wneud cynnydd
  • cefnogi ymarferwyr ar gyfer eu llesiant eu hunain
  • parhau i symud tuag at ddiwygio mewn addysg.

Mae’r cynlluniau’n barhad o’r cymorth a ddarperir gan Lywodraeth Cymru, sy’n cynnwys:

  • £33m i gefnogi dysgwyr amser llawn rhwng 16 a 19 oed sy’n dechrau cyrsiau Safon Uwch neu ddarpariaeth alwedigaethol naill ai mewn chweched dosbarth neu goleg AB
  • £24m i barhau i gefnogi a mentora dysgwyr drwy’r rhaglen Recriwtio, Adfer a Chodi Safonau, gan gadw’r 1800 o staff cyfwerth ag amser llawn a gafodd eu recriwtio ym mlwyddyn academaidd 2020 i 2021
  • £23.2m o gyllid ychwanegol ar gyfer prydau ysgol am ddim yn ystod gwyliau’r ysgol, gan olygu y bydd dros £110 miliwn yn cael ei wario ar brydau ysgol am ddim yn 2021-2022
  • £15m ar gyfer technoleg addysgol mewn ysgolion drwy raglen Technoleg Addysg Hwb, i wella seilwaith digidol mewn ysgolion a gynhelir

Dywedodd y Gweinidog: “Hoffwn ddiolch i’r holl staff mewn ysgolion, colegau a lleoliadau, am eu hymrwymiad a’u hymroddiad. 

 “Cydnabuwyd bod Llywodraeth Cymru wedi gweithredu’n gyflym yn ystod y pandemig i gefnogi dysgwyr. Mae’r cynllun sy’n cael ei gyhoeddi heddiw yn nodi sut y byddwn yn parhau i gefnogi lles a chynnydd dysgwyr ar draws pob lleoliad; yn enwedig y rhai difreintiedig ac agored i niwed, gan ganolbwyntio’n bennaf ar ddysgwyr blynyddoedd cynnar ac ôl-16.

“Rydym hefyd yn sicrhau bod y proffesiwn addysgu yn cael y cymorth sydd ei angen arnynt i wneud y gwaith y maent yn y sefyllfa orau i’w wneud.”

Ychwanegodd y Gweinidog; “Mae egwyddorion y Cwricwlwm i Gymru yn sail i’n holl waith wrth barhau â’n hadferiad o’r pandemig, gan gynnwys y cynllun Adnewyddu a Diwygio. Mae’r pandemig wedi dangos y gwydnwch a’r hyblygrwydd rhyfeddol o fewn y sector, a rhaid inni ddysgu o hynny. 

“Byddwn yn parhau i weithio gyda gweithwyr addysgu proffesiynol a’n partneriaid addysg ehangach, i ddatblygu ein hymateb i’r pandemig wrth i ni symud tuag at ddiwygio’r cwricwlwm.

Mae’r cynllun yn cael ei arwain gan dystiolaeth a phrofiadau’r rhai dan sylw, a nifer o astudiaethau achos sy’n asesu effaith y pandemig ar addysg. Mae’r pynciau sy’n cael eu trafod ynddo yn cynnwys yr effaith ar addysg cyfrwng Cymraeg; dysgu cyfunol a dysgu o bell, a lles gweithwyr proffesiynol a disgyblion.


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