A modern public service education system should celebrate equity, excellence and greater school autonomy, Education Secretary Kirsty Williams will say in a keynote speech this evening.
As part of this, she will preview a consultation asking whether sixth form provision should be added to the remit of the new authority for post-16 education and training, which will also include further and higher education.
Setting out the Welsh Government’s commitment to raising standards for all in a non-selective comprehensive system, the Education Secretary will emphasise the benefits of the “mixed economy” of schools, colleges and universities in Wales.
In addition, she will set out the direction of travel on:
- A reformed school accountability system which values the progress of all learners
- Greater freedom for schools on curriculum indicators within performance measures
- Improved measures on post-16 performance across 6th form and FE sector
On the issue of the relationship between sixth forms, FE colleges and the new Tertiary Education and Research Commission for Wales, the Education Secretary will say:
“I am and always will be a supporter of sixth forms. I also firmly believe in a good mix of provision when it comes to post-16 education and training.
“We need much more consistency when it comes to supporting our learners through this vital stage of their education and on to whichever route they decide is best for them.
“Including sixth forms within the remit of the new authority would not only give us a better picture of how the sector is performing in the round, but would also be instrumental in helping providers to work together, thereby reducing duplication and competition.”
On her commitment to an equitable and excellent system, she will say:
“We don’t write off anyone, or anywhere. We have high expectations, with the right support, at the right time, for all students, schools and settings.
“By believing in a non-selective comprehensive system, I admit that we are setting ourselves a challenge, when compared to other systems. But it is a challenge with a moral conviction. As a small country, we can’t leave anyone behind.
“We may not spend most of our time and energy discussing structures, as happens across the border – but that doesn’t mean we prescribe the same solution for all. A progressive comprehensive system is a system that suits each and every learner’s needs and requirements in their education journey.”