Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills
Schools Challenge Cymru places the interests of the pupil at the heart of its programme of school improvement. It is based on a belief that all children can achieve and this is something that I personally hold true. We must inspire them to succeed by providing experiences that open their eyes to the opportunities that exist beyond the school gates, their homes and their local communities. This raising of pupils’ personal expectations, aspirations and ambitions is an important aspect of the Challenge.
In the spirit of encouraging this, I am pleased to announce the Schools Challenge Cymru ‘Pupil Offer’. In so doing, I am asking Pathways to Success schools to look closely at their communities of learners and to begin piloting approaches that widen their horizons, creating opportunities to experience meaningful activities that they might not otherwise have been able to access. At the same time, I am asking partner organisations to get involved - Wales has a wide range of organisations that are committed to sharing their skills, knowledge, resources and expertise to secure improved outcomes for our children and young people.
Working together, schools and their partners are well placed to offer a wide range of activities for their learners, helping them to access new experiences in the arts, science, sport, our unique culture and heritage, further learning and even work, to name but a few.
By introducing the ‘Pupil Offer’ at this stage in the programme, I am giving Pathways to Success schools an opportunity to experiment, in order to discover what works best for them, before consolidating their approaches in the following academic year.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.