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Written Statement - Publication of the Final Report of the Equalities Task and Finish Group

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Leighton Andrews, Minister for Education and Skills

I am today publishing the Final Report of the Equalities Task and Finish Group.
The Group’s work has focused on the differential educational performances between boys and girls and also the wider socio-economic issues which affect their performance.
The terms of reference directed the Group’s work under three objectives:

  • a detailed analysis of the reasons for differential educational performances and outcomes between boys and girls;
  • the impact on their performance of wider socio-economic issues including substance misuse, teenage pregnancies;
  • the longer term implications of underperformance on their future training and employability outcomes, including stereotypical choices within the workplace.

The Report highlights both the complexity of and the relationship between these areas.  
The Report makes twelve recommendations. There are clear links between these recommendations and the three goals I have set for the School Effectiveness
Framework:

  • improving literacy levels;
  • improving numeracy levels; and
  • reducing the impact of poverty on educational attainment.

The Deputy Minister for Skills and I have met with officials within my Department to consider the Group’s recommendations in the context of current and future work programmes and priorities.  

The Task and Finish Group has developed detailed proposals to address its first objective. These proposals, which relate to improving literacy and countering the underachievement of boys, have been carefully considered by officials in my Department developing the National Literacy Programme, including the strand of work designed to address boys’ underachievement. The Group notes that in these areas there is the potential to achieve significant improvements in a relatively short period of time.

The Task and Finish Group recognises that tackling socio-economic issues is more complex and addressing the second and third bullet points will require a longer term multi-agency approach. I agree with the Group that education has a fundamental contribution to make and my Department is committed to helping achieve these important goals.  

I would like to place on record my thanks to the Chair, Bethan Guilfoyle CBE, and to the members of the Equalities Task and Finish Group, for the thorough and professional way in which the Group has addressed its terms of reference to deliver a clear and comprehensive Report.

The Report is available at: http://wales.gov.uk/topics/educationandskills/publications/reports/equalities/?lang=en
and a copy has been placed in the Library.