Schools named for £20m standards boost in Wales

Staff from more successful schools will be called in to offer support

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Forty underperforming schools in Wales have been selected to take part in a £20m scheme to improve standards.

The schools will be part of Schools Challenge Cymru which aims to improve the quality of teaching and learning by sharing expertise with high-performing schools.

Similar schemes have been run in London and Manchester for nearly a decade.

Advisers will draw up improvement plans and bring in extra support under the Welsh government's new flagship policy.

This could be in the form of experts or teachers from successful schools willing to share their staff.

Education Minister Huw Lewis confirmed the names of the schools involved at an event in Cardiff on Thursday.

Scheme a 'game-changer' says minister, Huw Lewis

Tackling problems

The Welsh government has been under pressure to boost education standards following a disappointing record in the international Pisa tests of pupils' attainment.

Those involved with Schools Challenge Cymru expect to see an improvement in exam results within the first year.

In London, many schools taking part in the scheme have seen significant improvements in standards and results.

Start Quote

There's absolutely no point in just shipping in some experts who then walk out the door two to three months later”

End Quote Dame Joan Mcvittee Head teacher, Woodside Secondary School, London

Head teachers were allowed to bring in consultants and experts to tackle problems.

Woodside Secondary School in north London was one of the worst performing in the city.

But since being involved with the London Challenge in 2003 its results have improved dramatically each year.

Head teacher Dame Joan Mcvittee told BBC Wales: "What that whole process did was build capacity within the school.

"Because there's absolutely no point in just shipping in some experts who then walk out the door two to three months later.

"They did bring in consultants and experts who worked alongside my teachers to build up their capacity to really get them to focus on the things that were critical for them to develop their teaching."

Between now and September, the schools involved will draw up a plan and set targets.

They will then be paired up with a high-achieving school - which could be in Wales or elsewhere - which will provide support and exchange ideas.

The advisers allocated to each school will assist in forming their plans, find expertise to help the schools and monitor the impact of the changes.

Schools have been chosen based on a number of factors including:

  • their rankings in the Welsh government's school banding over the past three years
  • the number of pupils eligible for free school meals
  • the performance of pupils who receive free school meals
SCHOOL COUNTY

Ysgol Uwchradd Caergybi

Anglesey

Abertillery Comprehensive

Blaenau Gwent

Ebbw Fawr Learning Community

Blaenau Gwent

Tredegar Comprehensive School

Blaenau Gwent

Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen

Bridgend

Bedwas High School

Caerphilly

Blackwood Comprehensive School

Caerphilly

Heolddu Comprehensive School

Caerphilly

St Cenydd School

Caerphilly

St Martin's School

Caerphilly

Cantonian High School

Cardiff

Eastern High School

Cardiff

Glyn Derw High School

Cardiff

Michaelston Community College

Cardiff

St Illtyd's Catholic High School

Cardiff

Willows High School

Cardiff

Ysgol Bro Dinefwr

Carmarthenshire

Holywell High School

Flintshire

Afon Taf High School

Merthyr

Bishop Hedley High School

Merthyr

Pen-Y-Dre high School

Merthyr

Llanwern High School

Newport

Lliswerry High School

Newport

St Julian's High School

Newport

Milford Haven School

Pembrokeshire

Hawthorn High School

Rhondda Cynon Taf

Porth County Community

Rhondda Cynon Taf

Pontypridd High School

Rhondda Cynon Taf

Tonypandy Community College

Rhondda Cynon Taf

Tonyrefail School

Rhondda Cynon Taf

Morriston Comprehensive

Swansea

Pentrehafod School

Swansea

Abersychan Comprehensive

Torfaen

Fairwater High School

Torfaen

Llantarnam School

Torfaen

West Monmouth School

Torfaen

Barry Comprehensive School

Vale of Glamorgan

Rhosnesni High School

Wrexham

Ysgol Bryn Alyn

Wrexham

Ysgol Clywedog

Wrexham

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