Coronavirus: Hundreds of teaching posts to be created in Wales

By Bethan Lewis
BBC Wales education and family correspondent

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Image caption,
The Welsh Government said the £29m would target disadvantaged pupils and those studying for exams

Nine-hundred extra teaching posts are to be created as part of a £29m support package to help pupils catch up when they return to school.

The Welsh Government said it would pay for the equivalent of 600 teachers and 300 teaching assistants for a year.

It will target disadvantaged pupils and those taking exams, and could include extra coaching and learning resources.

Head teachers' union NAHT welcomed the announcement, saying it was vital to invest in the next generation.

Education Minister Kirsty Williams will later reveal whether pupils will return to full-time education in September.

The Welsh Government said newly qualified teachers and supply teachers would take up the majority of the posts, and will be on one-year contracts.

In secondary schools, support will be focused on pupils studying for exams in Years 11, 12 and 13, as well as pupils of all ages who receive free schools meals, have additional learning needs or who are identified as being vulnerable.

Learning resources are promised to help new and current teachers deliver support to pupils studying for exams, which could include personalised learning programmes and additional lessons.

A range of teaching approaches will be used, the government said, including "blended learning" - a mix of learning from home and limited face-to-face teaching.

Image caption,
Schools reopened in a limited capacity on 29 June

Details are to follow about how the money will be shared between schools, it added.

Ms Williams said the government was supporting schools in the "recovery phase" and would continue to raise standards.

"This extra investment and targeted support will ensure that the impact of time away from school over recent months is minimised," she said.

"This is not a short-term fix. I am guaranteeing this money, extra staff and support for the whole of next year."

The announcement comes as Ms Williams is due to set out plans for how schools will operate in the new term.

Image caption,
Education Minister Kirsty Williams says she wants to "maximise" face-to-face contact between pupils and teachers

She told a Senedd committee on Tuesday that her goal was to "maximise" face-to-face contact between pupils and teachers.

It suggests the minister could adopt similar plans to those proposed in other parts of the UK planning for the full-time return of pupils after the summer.

So far the government has said that blended learning would continue for some time.

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