The funding is being given to secure improvements in standards and performance.
In a keynote speech at the All Nations Centre in Cardiff Leighton Andrews said that Band 4 and 5 schools would have to submit clear action plans with improvement targets to their local consortia before they can access this additional money.
The Minister said:
“I have been clear that I want to see standards and performance in Education in Wales improve across the board. This funding, along with the pupil deprivation grant, should support schools to address underachievement. In return for this investment I expect schools and teachers to agree to share their best practice. Consortia will be expected to facilitate this.”
In addition to the new funding the Minister also announced the creation of a new Practitioners Panel to advise the Welsh Government on best practice, the exchange of ideas between teachers and headteachers, and the quality of materials and resources being introduced into the education system in Wales.
The new panel will meet every two months and will be comprised of leading head teachers or teachers. They will serve for two years then hand over to a new panel. The names of the panel will be announced in due course.
Leighton Andrews said:
“The theme of my speech is learning from the best and we have some world class best practice in Wales which needs to be shared across the whole of the country and the profession.
“The best teachers I see in our schools are the ones eager to learn and share their experiences. I want to see teachers sharing their ideas and the new panel which I’ve announced today will be at the heart of delivering this.”
The Minister also took the opportunity during the speech to remind local authorities of their ongoing responsibilities in raising standards and performance in schools in Wales.
Mr Andrews said:
“Estyn has now inspected about half of our local authorities. Three were good. Four were adequate, and three unsatisfactory.
“I warned that local authorities had a year to start to demonstrate that they were delivering. Regional working is in place and consortia are providing stronger and more substantial school improvement services. But local authorities have to demonstrate they are delivering improved performance and also delegating 80% of their budgets to schools by September 2012 and 85% by September 2014.
“I warned local authorities that there would be a further review by 2013, as recommended by the Task and Finish Group on the Structure of Delivery of Education. I said that if they couldn’t demonstrate that they were delivering, then more radical restructuring of education delivery on a regional basis should follow. That still remains my expectation.”