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

Ysgol Uwchradd Caergybi


Abertillery Comprehensive

Blaenau Gwent

Ebbw Fawr Learning Community

Blaenau Gwent

Tredegar Comprehensive School

Blaenau Gwent

Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen


Bedwas High School


Blackwood Comprehensive School


Heolddu Comprehensive School


St Cenydd School


St Martin's School


Cantonian High School


Eastern High School


Glyn Derw High School


Michaelston Community College


St Illtyd's Catholic High School


Willows High School


Ysgol Bro Dinefwr


Holywell High School


Afon Taf High School


Bishop Hedley High School


Pen-Y-Dre high School


Llanwern High School


Lliswerry High School


St Julian's High School


Milford Haven School


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


Pentrehafod School


Abersychan Comprehensive


Fairwater High School


Llantarnam School


West Monmouth School


Barry Comprehensive School

Vale of Glamorgan

Rhosnesni High School


Ysgol Bryn Alyn


Ysgol Clywedog


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