WQ92263 (e) Tabled on 20/03/2024

What assessment has the Minister made of the Institute for Fiscal Studies report Major Challenges for Education in Wales which states that there are higher GCSE inequalities and worse post-16 educational and labour market outcomes in Wales than in England?

Answered by Cabinet Secretary for Education | Answered on 08/04/2024

Ahead of the pandemic, Wales was the only country in the UK improving standards in literacy, numeracy and science in PISA tests. We recognise that the pandemic has had a detrimental impact.  The attainment of our learners is a key priority for me and I will set out what more we will do to address this over the course of this term.

Our work in this area already includes support for disadvantaged learners and young people doing GCSEs and moving to post-16 pathways.  We have protected the Pupil Development Grant budget for 2024/25 with £127.8m ring-fenced for schools and local authorities to support low income and care-experienced learners.

The role of knowledge is at the forefront of our new curriculum and it is wrong to claim otherwise. Having worked with teachers and experts to create a curriculum fit for the modern world, we are pleased to see evaluations showing schools confidently embracing the opportunity to raise the aspirations of all learners.

Alongside a renewed focus on the vital skills of literacy and numeracy, every pupil will benefit from learning that supports them to become confident and creative, with the life skills and knowledge needed to help them reach their potential.

Over 17 million additional free school meals have been served since the launch of the Universal Primary Free School Meals offer. This is part of the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru, and the policy will be evaluated.