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Written Statement - Ensuring Effective Use of the Pupil Deprivation Grant: the Appointment of a Raising Attainment Advocate

Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills

I am determined to ensure that Pupil Deprivation Grant resources are being used appropriately and that our work and investment have the necessary impact on educational attainment of children from deprived backgrounds.

To support schools, local authorities and consortia in their efforts to bring about sustained improvement in outcomes for deprived learners I am delighted to announce the appointment of Sir Alasdair MacDonald as ‘Raising Attainment Advocate’ for Wales.

Sir Alasdair is a well-respected practitioner with a proven track record in strategies to improve attainment levels for all learners and especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

As Head of Morpeth secondary school in Tower Hamlets, Sir Alasdair has first-hand experience of reducing disparities in educational performance between boys and girls, rich and poor and across ethnic minority groups.
 
Sir Alasdair’s role will be to engage directly with schools, LAs and consortia to:

  • raise the profile and highlight the importance of tackling the link between deprivation and attainment with schools and practitioners;  
  • promote higher aspirations for learners from deprived backgrounds;  
  • support and enthuse schools leaders to embrace well evidenced, whole school approaches to tackling underperformance of learners from deprived backgrounds;  
  • challenge negative views and low expectations;
  • provide feedback to the me and officials on what is working well, areas of concern and perceived or real blockages in the system; and,
  • act a ‘critical friend’ in relation to Welsh Government policy development


He will also link with the Schools Challenge Cymru programme to offer advice and guidance. 

Sir Alasdair retired from teaching in December and I am delighted that he has agreed to work with schools in Wales, initially to the end of the summer term. His first engagement will be as the keynote speaker at the Raising Aspirations – Minority Ethnic Achievement Conference on 20th March 2014 at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff