Schools named for £20m standards boost in Wales

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Media captionStaff from more successful schools will be called in to offer support

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.

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Media captionScheme 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.

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 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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