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Written Statement - Review of Systems for Monitoring and Improving the Effectiveness of Post-compulsory Education in Wales

Kirsty Williams, Cabinet Secretary for Education

I have appointed Professor Harvey Weingarten to undertake a Review of Systems for Monitoring and Improving the Effectiveness of Post-compulsory Education in Wales.  Professor Weingarten is President and CEO of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, an arm’s length agency of the Ontario government that conducts research and provides policy advice to government to improve the accessibility, quality and accountability of colleges and universities. He is a world renowned expert who has wide ranging expertise across the fields of higher education and it’s this knowledge that is needed in order to carry out an effective review.

With his background, experience and expertise and independence from the Welsh education sector we are satisfied that Professor Weingarten is in a unique position to undertake a review of this kind for the Welsh Government.  His previous work and extensive experience of regulatory systems as well his independence from the current system in UK will also be of great benefit bearing in mind the short timeframe over which the review will be conducted.

Professor Weingarten’s Review will contribute to the development of systems for monitoring and supporting the post-compulsory education system in Wales so that they compare favourably with other systems in the UK and wider OECD member states within the next 10 years.  The Review should be seen as part of our wider approach to the longer term reform of post-compulsory education and training in Wales, which includes the current consultation on the creation of a new Tertiary and Education and Research Commission for Wales and Professor Grahame Reid’s review of government-funded research and innovation in Wales.  

Professor Weingarten will report on his findings by March 2018.  The terms of reference for the Review are provided at Annex A.

Annex A

Terms of Reference for a Review of Systems for Monitoring and Improving the Effectiveness of Post- Compulsory Education in Wales

1. Consider the ways in which the activities and performance of the post-compulsory education sector are monitored and evaluated by Welsh Government and its agencies, including Estyn and HEFCW, which discharges that responsibility through arrangements made with the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA).

2. To consider the effectiveness of current arrangements for the monitoring of post-compulsory education in Wales judged by reference to other UK nations, relevant international comparators and research evidence.

3. Work with people in the post-compulsory education sector in Wales to consider how current activities and future plans can be aligned with the five principles of the Well-Being of Future Generations Act. The five principles are as follows:

• look to the long term;

• focus on prevention;

• deliver an integrated approach to achieving the 7 well-being goals;

• work in collaboration with others to find shared sustainable solutions; and

• involve diverse populations in decisions that affect them.

4. Consider recommendations for the introduction and operation of an annual publicly accessible system for reporting on, monitoring, evaluating and improving post-compulsory education in Wales.

5. Consider how the post-compulsory education sector in Wales continues to ensure high quality outcomes for students within a sector that is internationally successful for innovation and research.

6. To consider whether there may be a need for legislation and new or reformed institutional arrangements to take forward future arrangements proposed in the light of this review.

7. Comment on how the current systems for monitoring and evaluating post-compulsory education can be aligned with the Well-Being of the Future Generations Act (2015) goals and the development of a post-compulsory education strategy in-keeping with the Welsh Government's response to the Hazelkorn Report. The seven well-being goals are as follows:

• a prosperous Wales;

• a resilient Wales;

• a healthier Wales;

• a more equal Wales;

• a Wales of cohesive communities;

• a Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language; and

• a globally responsible Wales